On November 15, Cubans had planned to peacefully take to the streets of Havana to demand the right that the Castro dictatorship has violated for more than sixty years: freedom.
But there was a setback: the regime attacked the organizers, activists and politicians who were promoting the protests, preventing the right of Cubans to demonstrate against the authorities.
“On the day of the 15th, when a massive response was expected from Cubans in the streets to the call for the peaceful march, the police had cordoned off the homes of several of the Archipelago coordinators,” reads a report by the media outlet Voz de America. “In several provinces, according to eyewitness accounts, the authorities detained organizers and deployed pro-government mobs in front of the homes of those who had confirmed their attendance to the protest.”
But Cubans on the island are not alone, the world is with them. The exile community, mainly, is organizing demonstrations around the globe to support the protesters, and there are also international actors — activists and politicians mostly — who are showing their commitment to Cuban freedom.
Among the exiles and foreign figures supporting the protests against Castroism were Rosa María Payá, Cuban human rights activist and daughter of opposition leader Oswaldo Payá, who died in 2012. She was accompanied by members of the Spanish VOX party, such as MEP Hermann Terstsch and national deputy and vice-president of the party Víctor González, also by the director of the Disenso Foundation, Jorge Martín Frías, and Italian MEP Carlo Fidanza, from the party Il Popolo della Libertà (The People of Freedom in English).
All of them tried to fly to Cuba to participate in the protests against Castroism, but they did not achieve their goal, because the Castro dictatorship prevented them from doing so.
Rosa María Payá told the EFE news agency that the international delegation was prepared to travel from Fort Lauderdale International Airport, which is about twenty minutes from Miami, to carry out “a humanitarian and observation mission” of the Civic March for Change.
“The refusal of the observation mission makes evident the dictatorship’s plans for violence. The Cubans in our delegation simply have the right to enter our country and we will not stop until we get it,” Payá told EFE.
Another Cuban accompanying the delegation was actor, influencer and political activist Alexander Otaola, who posted a message on his Twitter account calling for a work strike on the island in the event that the regime does not allow demonstrations to take place normally (as is happening right now and during the days leading up to November 15.)
“The Castro dictatorship is afraid”: Hermann Tertsch
Hermann Terstsch, a member of the European Parliament, in conversation with El American, explained that the intention of the trip was to show “a gesture of solidarity” to the Cuban people and that the prohibition of the trip leaves in evidence the fear of the Castro dictatorship in the face of the growing libertarian sentiment within Cubans.
“I think the Castro dictatorship is finished, that the dictatorship is very afraid and that people have lost their fear of the regime,” the MEP told El American. “This is over. The regime is living on the defensive and will live on the defensive for as long as it has time left. The only option some radicals could have is to make a bloodbath, but that will no longer be possible. They know that they have failed, that they are not viable and that they have nothing to offer the Cubans who no longer believe them.”
Terstch commented that the international community must “exert massive pressure so that things move in Cuba.” The MEP recalled that VOX, and other political parties, promoted a “historic resolution” in the European Parliament “that demands the immediate suspension of the agreement with Cuba, the suspension of all payments to Cuba and the beginning of studying sanctions against the leaders, those involved in repression and crimes of violation of human rights”.
Likewise, the leader of the conservative party VOX was categorical in pointing against Western democracies for supporting, for a long time, the Castro dictatorship: “We deeply believe that if the murderous Cuban dictatorship has lasted 63 years it is not only because some other dictatorship helped it, but above all because democracies helped it, the complicity of Western and American democracies have been key to this prolongation of this absolutely anachronistic and brutal dictatorship that exists in Cuba.”
Last July, the world was shocked after the Cuban people took to the streets in mass protest for the first time in decades. The last time Cubans had come out in protest was during the historic Maleconazo in 1994. The backlash from past protests provoked a wave of repression by the Castro dictatorship, which has increased surveillance of citizens and dissidents.