Cuba is cracking down on critics. This unlikely dissident says he'll protest anyway

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Havana, Cuba (CNN)A skinny, bespectacled, left-leaning playwright whose works until precocious were promoted by the authorities would look an improbable campaigner to go Cuba's nationalist force fig one.

But Cuban officials are progressively taking purpose astatine Yunior Garcia Aguilera and his connection to clasp a peaceful governmental march aboriginal this period -- for which the authorities has already denied permission.

    "Cubans person spent excessively overmuch clip successful silence," Garcia Aguilera said during an interrogation successful his cramped flat successful the downtrodden San Agustín vicinity of Havana. "It's clip to unfastened our mouths with liberty and accidental what we think."

      Garcia Aguilera is not the emblematic anti-government Cuban dissident. He has worked for years successful state-run theatre and tv productions, is captious of the US embargo connected the land and says helium is much wide than Cuba's "conservative" leadership. Cuban state-run media this week compared him to renowned Czech playwright and quality rights advocator Vaclav Havel, though the statement was not meant arsenic a compliment.

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      His planned march is intended to telephone for democratic reforms to the Caribbean nation's governmental system, arsenic good arsenic the merchandise of governmental prisoners. In response, the Cuban authorities has targeted him with an onslaught of accusations.

      Cuban authorities TV has broadcast signaling of Garcia Aguilera's idiosyncratic telephone calls, and aired programs alleging murky ties betwixt the playwright and acheronian forces allegedly bent connected toppling Cuba's much than six-decade-old revolution.

      In 1 telephone call, Garcia Aguilera tin beryllium heard having a perfunctory speech with a well-known anti-Castro Cuban exile Ramon Saul Sanchez, who offers Garcia Aguilera his support. Cuban authorities officials treated the telephone arsenic damning grounds that the playwright has been successful interaction with Cuban exiles successful Florida, whom the authorities accuses of plotting violent attacks connected the island.

      And successful a video that aired Monday connected the Cuba's Reasons tv program, a section doc named Carlos Leonardo Vázquez González showed photos of a league that helium said helium attended with Garcia Aguilera and different Cuban authorities critics successful Madrid successful 2019.

      Garcia Aguilera astatine  his location  successful  Havana.

      Vázquez González besides said successful the programme that helium was really a treble agent, reporting backmost to Cuban authorities information connected Garcia Aguilera.

      "What we are seeing successful Yunior is the instauration and show of a counterrevolutionary," Vázquez González said.

      Garcia Aguilera confirmed the authenticity of the telephone telephone and the league but said they were misrepresented connected TV. He denies receiving immoderate backing from overseas governments oregon exile groups, and insists that helium is pushing for antiauthoritarian alteration from wrong Cuba utilizing ineligible avenues.

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      In enactment of his program to protest, Garcia Aguilera formed a radical called Archipelago, which has implicit 31,000 followers connected Facebook. Group members accidental they excessively are harassed for their activism, and kick of being followed by plainclothes authorities information agents and receiving threats by authorities officials.

      Members besides impeach Cuba's authorities telecom supplier of preventing Cubans from texting the connection archipelago successful Spanish oregon the day of their planned protestation -- a long-established censorship maneuver connected the island. CNN has independently confirmed the messaging block.

      In October, Garcia Aguilera posted pictures connected societal media of the carcass and humor and feathers of a dormant vertebrate that were dispersed crossed the entranceway to his flat successful the mediate of the nighttime -- a gory country that helium understood arsenic a informing to halt his activism.

      He blamed the authorities for the vandalism, saying that constabulary monitoring his location would person been alert of who was responsible. Cuban officials person not responded to his allegations of harassment.

      On Monday, Garcia Aguilera's woman besides filmed neighbors carrying retired a nighttime "acto de repudio" oregon "act of repudiation" -- chanting authorities slogans astatine the couple's doorstep and "warning" him to halt his activism.

      Nevertheless, Garcia Aguilera and a fistful of different protestation organizers accidental they are intent connected moving guardant with their planned march. They accidental they privation peaceful protesters arrested aft demonstrations connected July 11 to beryllium released, much guarantees for idiosyncratic freedoms and a lifting of authoritative censorship.

      View of bare  streets successful  Havana, connected  September 1, 2020.

      A unsafe clip to protest

      Speaking retired against the island's communist-run authorities carries adjacent greater risks than usual, aft the authorities was rattled by wide protests successful July, accrued US economical sanctions and the implosion of their tourism manufacture during the pandemic.

      According to the Cubalex radical that monitors ineligible issues connected the island, astatine slightest 1,175 Cubans were arrested pursuing the July 11 protests erstwhile scores of radical took to the streets to request greater freedoms and economical conditions -- the largest objection to instrumentality spot successful Cuba since the 1959 revolution.

      While authorities officials said they targeted protestors who attacked constabulary and looted stores, dozens of radical said they were violently arrested for marching peacefully oregon simply filming the protests.

      Cubans march successful  beforehand   of Havana's Capitol during a objection  against the authorities  of Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel successful  Havana, connected  July 11, 2021.

      Government officials importune that the island's constitution grants Cubans the close to protest, but successful practice, demonstrations are rapidly breached up by constabulary and authorities critics are accused of being "mercenaries" successful the employment of Cuba's Cold War nemesis, the United States.

      "Having antithetic opinions, including governmental ones, doesn't represent a crime," said Rubén Remigio Ferro, the president of the Supreme People's Court of Cuba, astatine a property league successful July soon aft the protests. "Thinking differently, questioning what's going on, to show is not a crime."

      Those comments indicating an opening for immoderate dissent are what inspired Garcia Aguilera and different members of the Archipelago radical to use to clasp peaceful marches successful assorted cities crossed the island, the playwright told CNN.

      The Cuban authorities nevertheless has described the planned marches arsenic a pretext invented by Cuban exiles and the US authorities that would pb to an penetration of Cuba "by the enemy." It has announced island-wide subject exercises for the aforesaid day.

      "[The protest] promoters, their nationalist projections and ties with subversive organizations oregon agencies financed by the US authorities person the unfastened volition of changing the governmental strategy successful our country," Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel said astatine a code earlier the Central Committee of the Cuban Communist Party successful October.

      Already Cuba's state-run tally media has broadcast images of militias grooming with AK-47's and members of "Committee's for the Defense of the Revolution" patrolling streets with metallic batons.

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      Garcia Aguilera has since moved the projected march from November 20 to November 15, though the Cuban authorities is improbable to let protestors to instrumentality portion careless of the date. He said the government's overreaction to his projected march has lone proven his point.

      "They person shown there's nary regularisation of law," helium said. "There's nary anticipation for citizens to legally, peacefully and orderly amusement their dissent to those power."

      With truthful overmuch hostility successful the air, it's unclear however galore Cubans volition articulation Garcia Aguilera's telephone to protestation but already the inaugural threatens to further deteriorate frayed US and Cuban relations.

        "The Cuban authorities is failing to conscionable the people's astir basal needs. That includes food. That includes medicine. Now is simply a accidental to perceive to the Cuban radical and to marque a affirmative change," State Department spokesperson Ned Price said In October.

        The Biden administration has warned the Cuban authorities that if it prevents the march from taking instrumentality place, the land could look further economical sanctions.

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