Tuesday, October 26th 2021, 7:08 am
Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel warned the U.S. embassy in Havana against fomenting protests by dissidents on the island, the latest flashpoint between the longtime rivals ahead of fresh rallies slated for Nov. 15.
Cuba has said the planned demonstrations - scheduled for the same day the Caribbean island will reopen its borders to tourism - are illegal and blames the United States for underwriting them. The United States has threatened Cuba with further sanctions should the government jail protesters.
In a speech to Communist party stalwarts late on Sunday (October 24), Diaz-Canel doubled down on allegations of U.S. subterfuge, accusing the U.S. embassy of playing a role in fanning protests.
"The U.S. Embassy in Cuba has been taking an active role in efforts to subvert the internal order of our country. This behavior is not new," Diaz-Canel said.
The embassy could not immediately be reached for comment.
The U.S. diplomatic headquarters in Havana has operated with a skeleton crew since 2017 after employees fell ill with what is now known as 'Havana Syndrome.'
Scaled-back operations have hobbled diplomacy between the two Cold War foes and have forced Cubans seeking consular services from the embassy to travel to Guyana instead.
Diaz-Canel said the embassy was nonetheless leveraging social media communications to criticize Cuba.
The embassy in recent weeks has highlighted on social media the cases of several Cubans detained and jailed following the biggest anti-government demonstrations in decades on July 11. The posts on Twitter call in Spanish for the release of dissidents and use the hashtag "#Presosporque," or "Why are they prisoners?"
Cuban authorities said those arrested in July were guilty of crimes including public disorder, resisting arrest, and vandalism.
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