Cuba reopens doors to tourism as threat of protests looms

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Cuba reopened schools and its borders to international tourism on Monday as opposition groups urged supporters to protest for greater political freedoms, setting up a tense showdown between the government and its critics on the Caribbean island.

Dissidents have for months called on social media for a “Civic March for Change” following street protests in July, the largest on the island in decades.

Cuba’s communist government has banned Monday’s planned demonstrations, saying they are part of a destabilization campaign by the United States, which maintains a Cold War-era embargo on Cuba. U.S. officials have denied that.

Residents across the island reported no major rallies as of midday local time, but dissidents continued calls on social media to launch protests at 3 p.m. (2000 GMT) in 10 cities across Cuba, from the capital Havana to Pinar del Rio and Guantanamo.

In Havana there was a notable increase of plain-clothed and uniformed police, though streets appeared quieter than normal as some parents kept their kids home.

via Reuters

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