US Urges Cuba To Lift Protest Ban Ahead Of Demonstrations

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US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken

 

The United States urged Cuban authorities on Sunday to lift a ban on protests ahead of planned anti-government demonstrations, the State Department said in a statement.

“We call on the Cuban government to respect Cubans’ rights, by allowing them to peacefully assemble and use their voices without fear of government reprisal or violence, and by keeping Internet and telecommunication lines open for the free exchange of information,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said.

Cuba’s opposition has called for demonstrations in Havana and six provinces on Monday — which have been prohibited by the communist authorities — to call for the release of political prisoners.

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More than 1,200 people were arrested during history-making protests in July, with more than 650 of them still in detention, according to NGO Cubalex.

Blinken hit out at the Cuban government’s crackdown on the protests and condemned “intimidation tactics” of blocking protests, firing opposition supporters and threatening them with detention ahead of Monday’s demonstrations.

“We urge the Cuban government to reject violence, and instead, embrace this historic opportunity to listen to the voices of their people,” Blinken said, calling on other democratic states to “echo our support for Cuban demonstrators.”

He added the United States will continue to “promote accountability for the Cuban regime’s repression and human rights violations.”

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Havana has accused Washington of backing the protests in an effort to destabilize the Cuban government.