A “revolution to save the revolution” by Cuba. The former Speaker of the Chamber comments, Fausto Bertinotti, what is happening on the Caribbean island, where the protests against the regime triggered by the consequences of Covid-19 pandemic andembargo of the United States they bring to mind the manifestations of the early nineties.
Thousands of people took to the streets in recent days in all major cities of Cuba, where the economic situation for the population seems to have become unsustainable. Alternatively, there is no electricity, so the Internet, some food and above all, due to Covid, tourists, the main source of income for a large slice of the inhabitants, have disappeared.
“Those who lead the country face a choice: listen to the square, the people, or lose everything,” he said Bertinotti in an interview with Republic. The former leader of Communist refoundation acknowledges the problems, while emphasizing the achievements made by Havana.
“There remain characteristic factors of the Cuban experience such as the centrality ofinstruction, the excellence of health care public, the solidarity and theinternationalism. But history is running out, there are forms of attrition: the double market, internal inequalities, bureaucratization: in this condition, undergoing the displacement of history and a vigorous economic squeeze, it would take a revolution within the revolution, a return to the language. original, which was that of ‘all power to the people’. It would be a great and coherent gesture with the birth of Cuban socialism for a government that today would say to those who manifest ‘you are right’, not only to listen but to build history together with those people, without harboring the illusion that the market is salvific. “.
In conclusion, a revolution within a revolution. According to the former Speaker of the Chamber, in fact, those who “fight in the streets are a resource”. And yet, judging by the response of the Cuban authorities, they don’t seem to think so in Havana. The hard fist of the police against the demonstrators and the announcement of the president Miguel Díaz-Canel live on national television that “the squares belong to the revolutionaries” has even pushed theEuropean Union to define the regime’s response to the demonstrations as “unacceptable”.
The street protests have been staged in recent days, which according to the state news agency Acs caused one death while opponents speak of dozens of arrests and violent repression of dissent, reminiscent in some ways of the marches of the 1994, when thousands of people took to the streets a Cuba after the economic crisis triggered by the end of Soviet support for the island.
Then Fidel Castro was forced to open the doors of the country: tens of thousands of Cubans seized the opportunity, risking their lives to embark on makeshift boats towards the United States. The situation calmed down only with a progressive economic opening and with new migration agreements with Washington: that crisis was called the “Maleconazo“.
Since then, for the first time in six decades, neither Fidel Castro, who died in 2016, nor his brother Raul, who is over 90, they handle more power. In April, the brother of the historic Cuban leader announced that he would step down from the post of first secretary of the Communist Party and that role has since been filled by Miguel Diaz-Canel, who was named president in 2018 and now holds both posts, without much charisma.
Perhaps no longer bound by personal loyalty to Castro, many Cubans who took to the streets are calling for the resignation of the new leader, who responded by blaming the protests for the “economic asphyxiation” caused by the United States and the social media campaigns of a minority of “counter-revolutionaries”. “In recent weeks, the campaign against the Cuban revolution has increased on social media, tapping into the problems and shortcomings we are experiencing,” said the 61-year-old. Diaz-Canel in a televised speech.
Washington imposed for the first time sanctions versus Cuba in 1958. Since then, the United States they have alternatively reduced or extended the embargo against the island, always opposing the requests of the United Nations to spare the country the economic blockade.
After the openings of Barack Obama in 2014, which led to greater openings a Cuba, Donald Trump chose to re-impose sanctions while the current president Joe Biden has not yet taken a clear position on the matter, undecided whether to attempt the path of regime change by fueling street protests but thus risking a wave of migration towards the coasts of Florida.
Meanwhile, the countries of the area have begun to take sides with Havana. The president of the Bolivia, Luis Arce he declared: “We express our full support for the Cuban people in their fight against destabilizing actions”. The head of state of the Mexico, Andres Manuel López Obrador, said the first thing to do to help Cuba it would be to remove the economic blockade, calling it “a truly humanitarian gesture”. While Argentina has already expressed concern about a possible interference by the Americans.
The situation on the field, however, continues to remain incandescent. One reason for the protests appears to be anger at the inability to contain the Covid-19 pandemic. Despite being one of the few countries in the world to have developed its own vaccine and sent abroad (even in Italy) medical teams to assist other countries in the fight against Coronavirus in recent weeks Cuba is experiencing a new peak of infections.
The island, where only 15 per cent of the population is fully vaccinated, has passed the 250 thousand cases of Covid-19, with 5,613 new infections and a further 29 deaths registered on 12 July alone, bringing the death toll from the beginning of the pandemic to 1,608. The greatest number of new infections, 1,468, occurred precisely to Matanzas, followed by the capital Havana with 691, coincidentally two of the epicenters of the protest. The spread of the epidemic leads to a further stop to tourism, which is the main source of foreign currency in the country.
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