The Cuban Foreign Ministry summoned the British ambassador to Havana, Antony Stokes, as a sign of protest on Thursday, accusing him of interference for having denounced violations of citizens’ rights by the Cuban justice system on social media.
The director general for bilateral affairs of the Cuban Foreign Ministry, Emilio Lozada, posted on Twitter that, during a meeting with Stokes today, he asked him to “respect the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations which establishes, in article 41, the obligation to not to interfere in the internal affairs of the receiving State”.
The summons was made after a tweet from the British ambassador. “Harassment, arrests of peaceful protesters, trials without due process and censorship embodied today by Decree-Law 35 silence legitimate voices and violate international conventions”, wrote Stokes.
The ambassador’s tweet was shared about 1,000 times and generated numerous comments, mostly messages of support from Cubans against the new decree-law, enacted last Tuesday.
This new legal framework pursues potentially subversive content on the web, which has generated a wave of protests from those who consider it a “gag law” to silence critical voices. The regime has already launched a campaign to defend its legitimacy.
The Cuban foreign minister said that, in his meeting with the British ambassador, he compared Decree-Law 35 with the UK’s cybersecurity regulations.
In this regard, according to Lozada, he reminded Stokes that British law “establishes sanctions designed to promote the prevention of cyber activity that undermines the integrity of the country, causes economic losses or affects a significant number of people”.
Controversial cybersecurity law
While waiting to learn how the controversial Decree-Law 35 will be applied in Cuba, international organizations and institutions such as Human Rights Watch and the United States Department of State have expressed their concern.
Cuba’s new cybersecurity regulations come after the July 11 protests against the dictatorship, in which social media played a key role in mobilizing thousands of people who took to the streets across the country to demand freedom and better living conditions , in the midst of a serious economic and health crisis.
At the beginning of the demonstrations, the dictatorship took the extreme measure of blocking the internet, leaving millions of Cubans without a connection for a week.