Cuban opposition group Archipelago expected to conclude protests

Cuban demonstrators, organized by social media-based opposition group Archipelago, today end their week-long protest of arbitrary detentions, militarization of the

Cuban opposition group Archipelago expected to conclude protests

Photo: Mayela Lopez/Reuters

Cuban demonstrators, organized by social media-based opposition group Archipelago, today end their week-long protest of arbitrary detentions, militarization of the streets, and suppressed freedom of speech.

On November 15, when Cuba reopened to tourism, Archipelago organized a “Civic March for Change” demanding the release of 650 political prisoners, many of whom were detained during July’s protests. The government claimed that the protests were a US-financed subversive effort and suppressed the march by blockading homes, intimidating demonstrators, and forcing Archipelago’s founder to flee to Spain. In response, Archipelago leaders instructed their 30,000 members to peacefully protest by wearing white clothing, carrying white roses, and banging pots until November 27.

Despite government efforts to silence political unrest, expect Archipelago to continue protesting and demanding freedom of speech. Archipelago’s Facebook-based format is challenging for the government to control — the only method is to shut down Wi-Fi, which would impact the economy.

Although Archipelago discourages US involvement in Cuban politics, expect the US to voice support for the protests and hold the Cuban government accountable, potentially by upholding sanctions. While the protests have not yet sparked political reform, this wave of activism likely indicates a growing challenge to the communist government by Cuba’s youth.

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