Cuba is suffering its worst crisis in years. After more than six decades, citizens of Cuba have taken to the streets across the country for the first time to protest against the living conditions, which are undoubtedly deteriorating.
Not only are the protestors have criticized the government’s handling of the surge in covid-19 infections, but it is also clear that protestors are fuming about food and medicine shortages, electricity blackouts, and a police state led by the Communist Party of Cuba. As hundreds of people marched their way to the streets, security services took action to stop the outpouring of free speech and the mass gathering.
Numerous videos have circulated on social media to shed light on the citizens’ frustration while marching down the streets. Facebook, Instagram, and Whatsapp are the most popular social media platforms in Cuba, yet all these platforms remained restricted by Etecsa’s servers.
The authorities also took action by cutting internet service to contain the spread of mass demonstrations, leading to difficulty for citizens to express themselves and post news of the protests globally. More than 100 protestors, independent journalists, and activists have been arrested or missing, according to witnesses. Alfredo Martínez Ramírez, an activist in Havana, said that “Nearly all my friends are without internet, and we don’t know where many of them are”.
The Cuban government accused the U.S government and social media of the protests. However, Socialist senator Bernie Sanders has tweeted that “all people have the right to protest and to live in a democratic society”. He also pointed out that the government should “respect opposition rights and refrain from violence”. The United Nations, among several countries, have called to the Cuban government to respect the people protesting, as they have the right to express themselves.
Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel, has also expressed his guilt while claiming that the government’s shortcomings in handling these shortages played a significant role in the protests. He also accused Washington of “economic asphyxiation” because of its sanction policy, a decision made by former US President Donald Trump. Current US Joe Biden claimed that his country supports Cuba’s “clarion call for freedom and relief”. Biden has still not acted though he promised during his 2020 campaign to roll back the sanctions on Cuba.
While Cuba has been flaring up with protests over the years, the outpour that occurred on Sunday was indeed astonishing. The regime of Cuba has shown its actual color by displaying the role of a dictatorship and its drive to remain one.