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Cuba warns US against ‘destabilization’ ahead of planned illegal rally

Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez speaks during a presentation to the diplomatic corps accredited to Cuba in Havana, November 10, 2021. (Photo by AFP)

Cuba says the United States is trying to “destabilize the island country” through supporting a street rally next week, which has already been banned by Havana.

Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez warned that Havana will not allow “the persistent aggression by the United States government, its intense and constant attempts... to create conditions for internal destabilization, to alter the citizens’ calm and security.”

“There have been 29 statements from the United States government and influential figures in that nation's congress since September 22 alone... all aimed at encouraging, guiding, instigating destabilization actions in our country,” he told reporters on Wednesday.

Dissidents planned the rally for November 15, the same day the island country will reopen its borders to tourists. The march is reportedly sponsored by a US-based Facebook group named Archipelago.

The foreign minister also threatened to take legal action against Facebook over supporting the upcoming rally by changing algorithms and the geo-locations of posts. Havana has already denied permission for protests, saying Archipelago had links with “subversive organizations” with an “open intention of changing the political system in Cuba.”

Last month, prosecutors summoned dissident leaders from across the country, warning them against convening rallies deemed illegal.

Protesters say they plan to go ahead with the march anyway.

Washington has also threatened Havana with further sanctions should the government detain demonstrators.

Archipelago fanned two days of deadly anti-government protests in the country in July. The protests came amid the nation’s worst economic crisis, resulting from US sanctions and a record surge in coronavirus infections. The US trade embargo, which has been in place against Cuba since 1962, was reinforced under former US President Donald Trump. Trump’s successor, Joe Biden, has also chosen to tread on the same path. Biden, who initially distanced himself from his Republican predecessor, has not only retained Trump’s ‘maximum pressure’ campaign on Cuba, but intensified the sanctions.

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