Cubans Cry for ‘Freedom’
Cubans revolt over economic scarcity. Mass protests over Cuba’s food and medicine shortages broke out in the Communist country over the weekend. “Our children are dying of hunger,” shouted one woman in a video posted to Facebook. All told, hundreds of people in Havana, in San Antonio de los Baños, in Palma Soriano, and elsewhere reportedly took to the street.
Those numbers might not sound so staggering. But “in a country known for repressive crackdowns on dissent, the rallies were widely viewed as astonishing,” The New York Times points out. “Activists and analysts called it the first time that so many people had openly protested against the Communist government since the so-called Maleconazo uprising, which exploded in the summer of 1994 into a huge wave of Cubans leaving the country by sea.”
Cubans in 2021 are struggling due to government-imposed pandemic lockdowns, which have left many unable to work for months and put a stop to tourism and the money it brings in. The result has been a tanking economy and shortages of basic necessities.
“This is no longer a question of freedom of expression; it’s a question of hunger. People are hitting the street. They are asking for an end to this government, to one-party rule, to repression and the misery we have lived through for 60 years,” Havana theater director Adonis Milán told the Times.
Cuban government officials are still trying to blame the United States for the situation. For instance, Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel claimed the U.S. government is the main entity responsible for Cuba’s economic troubles.
Some U.S. outlets have been playing along:
If you’re making protests in Cuba out to be anything but a rejection of the communist regime in totality, you’re ignoring 62 years of destruction and pain caused by central planning precipitating peaceful protests.
— Gabriella Hoffman (@Gabby_Hoffman) July 12, 2021
Meanwhile, the Times has been taking some flak for its coverage of the protests, after labeling protesters’ cries of “freedom” as shouting “anti-government slogans.”
Says OpenSecrets researcher Anna Massoglia on Twitter: “If shouting ‘Freedom’ is anti-government, there might be something wrong with your government.”
Following anti-govt protests, #Cuba‘s communist regime has allegedly shut down the internet multiple times in the past few hours. There have also been reports of phone lines services being cut off. Straight out of the Communist playbook: “censor and intimidate at all costs”. pic.twitter.com/zb54kgpiOM
— Steve Hanke (@steve_hanke) July 12, 2021
Cuban authorities have reportedly been shutting down internet access in the country. But videos from the protests have still been spreading:
— Martha Bueno (@MarthaBueno18) July 11, 2021
To all those tourists who love visiting Cuba with euros, dollars, a future, freedom and a return ticket home, this is the REAL Cuba behind the great marketing pitch; not the charming old cars, amazing music and beautiful beaches. All Cubans and Venezuelans want is: FREEDOM. https://t.co/4G8EMOemSy
— Gabriela Montero (@monterogabriela) July 12, 2021
— Cristian Crespo F. (@cristiancrespoj) July 11, 2021
????????En hecho sin precedentes, miles salen a protestar pacíficamente en varios puntos de #Cuba. @DiazCanelB les acusa de mercenarios y vendidos al imperio, y llama a sus simpatizantes a combatirles violentamente. Deja claro que su gobierno es un violador de #DDHH y represor #SOSCuba pic.twitter.com/kMnigd0bbf
— Erika Guevara-Rosas (@ErikaGuevaraR) July 11, 2021
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