Cuba says United States, Facebook helping to foment Nov. 15 protests

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HAVANA, Nov 10 (Businesshala) – Cuba’s foreign minister said on Wednesday that the United States was behind the human and civil rights protests planned for November 15 in the communist-run country, and promoted the alleged US-based social media platform Facebook. was helping to give them.

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Dissidents on the island requested permission in September to conduct rallies organized under a Facebook group called Archipelago. Cuban officials rejected his request, alleging that the protesters were working with the United States to overthrow the government.

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Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez reiterated those allegations before a meeting of foreign diplomats in Havana, saying the United States had helped to destabilize the government by quelling and organizing the protests.

“US policy … is doomed to failure. It is unforgivable. It hasn’t worked for 60 years. It doesn’t work now (…) and it won’t work in the future,” he said.

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Rodriguez specifically invoked the role of Facebook, saying that dissidents organized into groups on the platform violated the social media platform’s own policies by “changing logarithms, changing geolocation mechanisms to simulate the massive presence of people in Cuba.” , which are known to live outside our country, primarily in Florida and the US territory.”

Rodriguez said these practices violated both US and international law.

“As has already happened, with strict adherence to the laws, Facebook as a whole could sue Cuba for these practices.”

Neither the US State Department nor Facebook, which recently changed the name of their company to Meta, immediately responded to a Businesshala request for comment.

The recent expansion of web access in Cuba has given people new ways to share critiques and mobilize online.

Archipielago, the Facebook group behind the protests, says it has 31,501 members, more than half of whom live in Cuba.

Uniyar García, Cuba’s dissident leader of the archipelago, could not be immediately reached for comment.

The Cuban government has a monopoly on telecommunications, and regularly blames trolls and foreign agents on social media for fueling the unrest.

After large anti-government rallies in July, in an apparent bid to reduce further calls to protest, the island nation faced disruptions in access to the internet and social media.

Rodriguez also told diplomats that the United States last week offered Cuba one million doses of a vaccine against the coronavirus. He criticized the proposal as “opportunistic” and irrelevant, noting that Cuba has already vaccinated its entire population with domestic drugs.

Instead, he made a counter-offer, suggesting that Cuba and the United States each offer to donate their respective vaccines to a country that needs them more.

Reporting by Dave Sherwood and Nelson Acosta, Additional reporting by Elizabeth Culliford in New York Editing by Nick Ziminsky and Alistair Bell


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