In the demonstrations, broadcast on social networks, you can hear cries such as “freedom”, “down with communism” and “we are not afraid”
Two spontaneous peaceful demonstrations surprised the Cuban government this Sunday. The protests began in the morning in San Antonio de los Baños, a town located 30 kilometers from Havana, and in Palma Soriano, in the province of Santiago. In both, the song ‘Patria y vida’ could be heard, which has already become an anthem against the Castro government.
The demonstrations were widely disseminated on social networks and in the videos posted by the attendees you can hear cries such as “freedom”, “down with communism”, “let them go” or “we are not afraid.” This diffusion caused the mobilizations in other cities, and, within hours, the protests spread to Matanzas, Santa Clara, Camagüey, Cienfuegos, Artemisa and even to Havana, where the protesters concentrated on the popular Malecón.
Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel appeared on television and urged those related to his regime to take to the streets to combat the protests. He assured that Cuban leaders had been “honest” with the people about the situation, for which he blamed the measures that the Trump government had adopted, which he accused of trying to “suffocate the country’s economy.” In addition, Internet outages were recorded to prevent the protests from spreading, but they were late.
This is a very unusual event in the country if one takes into account that the last protest that was registered was in 1994, when shortages led the citizens of Havana to carry out a popular uprising known as “El Maleconazo.” Fidel Castro himself appeared in the area and managed to calm the spirits. In the end, the protest ended with no deaths. In recent years, the only protests authorized by the government have been those of the Communist Party itself.
Jake Sullivan, National Security Advisor to the US government, supported the protests from his Twitter account and warned the Cuban government not to use violence. “The United States supports freedom of expression and assembly in Cuba and would strongly condemn any use of violence against peaceful protesters who are exercising their universal rights,” he wrote.
For a few years now, the country has been immersed in an economic crisis that has been aggravated by the pandemic. The island suffers from a high shortage of both food and medicine, which has generated enormous social unrest. In recent days there have been power outages of more than six hours in many areas of the country. In addition, the death figures offered by the Miguel Díaz-Canel government do not agree with those offered by the media.