I.Nationwide protests against the government have erupted in Cuba. Thousands took to the streets on Sunday and vented their frustration with the corona policy. “They are protesting the crisis that there is no food or medicine, that everything has to be bought in foreign exchange shops, and the list goes on and on,” said an eyewitness in Santiago de Cuba.
Videos on social media showed hundreds of residents in multiple cities from Havana to Santiago chanting anti-government slogans and making various demands, from vaccines against the coronavirus to an end to daily blackouts. Security forces vehicles patrolled the streets armed with machine guns.
Communist President Miguel Diaz-Canel blamed the United States for the unrest in a nationally televised speech on Sunday afternoon: the protests were orchestrated by the United States through social media platforms and “mercenaries” on site in Cuba. He warned that further “provocations” would not be tolerated.
The communist-led country has been experiencing a worsening economic crisis for the past two years, with the government blaming mostly US sanctions and the pandemic. There is a shortage of basic necessities on the Caribbean island, and long queues often form in front of shops. This increases the pressure to implement long-promised but so far blocked reforms. Critics accuse the government of incompetence and blame the Soviet one-party system.