Protests broke out in front of the Cuban embassy in London this week, as pro-democracy Cuban advocates and followers of the Archipiélago movement clashed with pro-Cuban government advocates over the 15N protests in Cuba.

The movement, which began in July in response to large-scale protests over government mismanagement of food and medicine, is currently resisting a crackdown as Cuban officials refuse outside intervention and keep opposition leaders locked in their homes.

Sasha Borrego, a Cuban resident in Manchester, said: “I came to this protest like all Cubans who think the Castro system is no longer sustainable. When I saw what happened on July 11, when the young people took to the streets to demand freedom, it moved my conscience. I was so disgusted… I said I can’t stay still within the comfort of my freedom as a citizen.”


Elias Morales Infante, another Cuban advocate, who runs a Facebook page protesting Cuban authoritarianism, said: “Cubans are tired of living under a dictatorial regime that has oppressed them for 63 years… This is not about communism or socialism or right or left; this is about freedom; this is about human rights.”

Protesters’ views on the situation in Cuba differ in many ways from those that support the Cuban government, including their views on the U.S. embargo.

Sasha said: “I am totally against the embargo and anything that affects the sovereignty of a country.”

However, she also understands why the United States put it in place and believes: “The United States government has always been the only one that has defended the opposition.”

She believes that while pro-government Cubans say they came to protest the US embargo, they had actually come to disrupt the opposition and pro-democratic Cuban advocates.

On the opposing side are voices like Vilma Govedici’s, a Brazilian socialist who equally opposes US intervention, but takes the side of socialist Cuba, believing that a lack of US government intervention represents true freedom.

Vilma said: “Cuba is a great country, and I wish everybody would go there and see [for themselves] that there is a lot of democracy in Cuba. Although they remain a communist country, I don’t agree with the fact that there is no freedom.”

Lifting her Che Guevara flag, her voice joined the rest of the Cuban protestors in the UK: “Yo soy Fidel, yo soy Raul”, a reference to Fidel and Raul Castro. Their chants also include “Cuba si, gusanos no”, directed at the Archipiélago protestors, a slogan that translates as: “Cuba yes, worms no.”




Correction: This article has been edited to correct a mistake in which it was implied that Elias Morales was against the embargo and that he and Sasha Borrego were part of the Archipiélago movement.