Anti-government demonstrations in Cuba. The police pacified the demonstrators

Anti-government demonstrations took place in several Cuba cities on Sunday. Thousands of Cubans took to the streets to express frustration at pandemic restrictions, the rate of vaccination against Covid-19, and government neglect. Cuba authorities accuse the US of provocation.

Biggest protests in years

According to opposition websites, these were the largest protests since 1994. The originally peaceful demonstrations turned into general chaos in the streets. Participants erected, inter alia, cries of “Freedom” and “Down with the dictatorship”. Cuban authorities accused the United States of causing them.

The first place near Havana from which reports of the demonstration came was the San Antonio de los Banos estate, 33 km from Havana. Hear the shouts of several hundred participants: “We are not afraid!” and the collective singing of a song composed by the opposition Cuban bard “Patria y Vida” – “Fatherland and Life”, which today is the response of Cuban opponents to the historic cry of “Patria o Muerte”, “Fatherland or death” of the revolutionaries Fidel Castro.

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The economic crisis in Cuba

Cuba is going through the deepest economic crisis in 30 years. The situation on the island is exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic. Demonstrations against government policy took place on the day that another record of coronavirus cases was registered in Cuba: 6,923 new cases and 47 people died. The total number of deaths was 1,537.

Demonstration participants protested against the shortage of food and basic necessities. The situation is quickly worsened by the declining number of foreign tourists due to the pandemic and the economic crisis in Venezuela, which is Cuba’s main supplier of crude oil.

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Protests in Cuba, photo: PAP / EPA / Ernesto Mastrascusa


The Cuban leader accuses the United States

Cuban President and the head of the Communist Party, Miguel Diaz-Canel, called on Sunday’s televised speech by government supporters to take to the streets as well and “fight back” opponents of the revolution. “We call on all revolutionists, all communists, to go to the streets and appear at the sites of all these provocations,” appealed Diaz-Canel.

The Cuban leader said the United States was responsible for the Sunday riots. The daily, published in Havana, claims that the initiators of the riots were American envoys who used the coronavirus pandemic to pursue their main goal: overthrowing communist rule in Cuba. “These counter-revolutionaries are trying to overturn order at a time when Cuba has been fighting not only against Covid-19, but also for more than 60 years with the economic, commercial and financial blockade that the US has been holding against it,” the newspaper reads.

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Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel, photo: PAP / EPA / Yander Zamora

Police pacify the demonstrations

Meanwhile, independent portals indicate that Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel not only exacerbates the riots by sending police against the demonstrators and calling on supporters of the regime to “stand up” to protesters, but has already started implementing the force scenario. “The regime is militarizing the streets of Havana for fear of further protests,” Periodico Cubano wrote, pointing out that special units of the army and police have already appeared in the streets.

Another independent website, CiberCuba, publishes photos of people beaten or shot with rubber bullets by the regime’s police forces, who pacified demonstrations in several cities of the island. Among the injured there are, among others AP photojournalist.

CiberCuba points to worldwide support for protesters against difficult living conditions and the regime, as well as the island’s authorities blocking the internet. This portal, like Periodico Cubano, expects the riots to trigger a change in the country.

US warns Cuba

The US warns Cuba against using violence against demonstrators. The US President’s National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan warned the Cuban authorities about the use of violence against “peaceful demonstrators.”

“America stands for the oppressed Cubans who rally to defend their inherent right to freedom, America stands for a free and democratic Cuba!” – wrote US Vice President Mike Pence.

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