Cuba after the protests: internet shutdown, mass arrests, missing citizens...

Cuba after the protests: internet shutdown, mass arrests, missing citizens...
Cuba after the protests: internet shutdown, mass arrests, missing citizens...
15 July, 11:30Politics
Cuban authorities have confirmed that a participant in mass protests that began in the country last Sunday died in the suburbs of Havana. The local radio warned: "This will be the case with anyone who tries to attack government offices".

Gennady Charodeyev

The first performances began in the city of San Antonio de los Banos, which is located southwest of Havana, then they erupted in other regions of the country, including the capital. And almost immediately, street actions began to be accompanied by robberies of shops, warehouses and institutions. For some reason, distraught people broke windows in houses and set fire to cars. Demonstrators shouted openly in front of the policemen: “Freedom! Down with socialism! Down with communism! We are not afraid!" People demanded the resignation of President Miguel Diaz-Canel.

When the demonstrations were "crushed", the Granma newspaper learned the name of Diubis Laurencio Tejeda, who was killed in the storming of the city hall in Arroyo Nar. Voluntary assistants of the security services, activists of local party cells explained to the population: they say, this 36-year-old man was previously convicted of theft and hooliganism! Nobody believed them.

Arrests continued throughout the island all these days among the instigators of the riot. At least 150 people were detained. Among them are well-known dissidents, cultural figures and journalists. Hundreds of missing persons have been reported on social media.

Apparently, the protests and riots with pogroms in several cities of Cuba came as a surprise to the authorities of the Island of Liberty. Many experts call the incident the largest anti-government demonstrations in the post-revolutionary history of Cuba.

The very next day after the suppression of demonstrations in the streets of Havana, the number of police patrols increased, officers in military uniforms and people in civilian clothes - members of the Committee for the Defense of the Revolution - are on duty everywhere in the city. Its branches have been in every district of the capital since 1959.

A TASS correspondent working in Cuba tried to capture on a camera those who are guarding order on the streets of Havana. Where there! But even the official journalistic accreditation of the Cuban Foreign Ministry did not help. Difficulties arose in the transfer of material - the Internet these days in Cuba works, to put it mildly, with interruptions.

On TV every now and then broadcast the speech of the President of the country, Miguel Diaz-Canel, who called on the defenders of the ideas of the Revolution to take to the streets "to prevent provocations against the state." He also stressed that he "does not consider the protests peaceful."

Diaz-Canel in his speech noted that an active campaign was conducted from abroad against the socialist leadership of the island from abroad. At the end of 2018, when the mobile Internet began to function in Cuba, many wondered: "Isn't it being used by the enemies to organize a" twitter "revolution on the island, as has already happened in many countries?" And it is social media, local authorities insist, that have played a key role in the proliferation of the performances in Havana.

“Today Cuba is experiencing a grave crisis, comparable to the one that fell to its lot in 1994 after the collapse of the Soviet Union,” Nikolai Kalashnikov, deputy director of the Institute of Latin America of the Russian Academy of Sciences , told NI . - A wave of COVID-19 hit the island. This is a new mutation that has raised the number of sick and dead on the island to unprecedented heights. The previous waves did little to affect Cuba, but this time the virus recovered in full, despite the active vaccination with its own vaccine and the developed healthcare system in the country. Tourism has practically disappeared, and US sanctions do not allow trade.

According to the expert, there is a shortage of food in Cuba, some products can be purchased only in foreign exchange stores, while it is almost impossible to buy foreign currency in banks.

Previously, people on the black market bought cash dollars at twice the official rate, but exactly before banks stopped accepting them a month ago.

Another problem is related to the restrictions imposed in connection with the pandemic: some of the equipment and products this year, many traders brought from Russia. This is one of the few destinations where an entry visa is not required for Cubans and flights are relatively regular. However, a spokesman for the Cuban Ministry of Health, Francisco Duran, recently announced that visitors from abroad will have to be quarantined for 14 days in a paid hotel. This caused discontent among the population.

- Another factor is power outages. In the summer, in conditions of high humidity and tropical heat, it is hard to live without ventilation of the premises, and the products that we managed to buy, having defended the hourly queue at the store, disappear in the idle refrigerator, - Nikolai Kalashnikov noted.

In the city of San Antonio de los Banos, south of Havana, riots began primarily due to a prolonged power outage.

US sanctions cut off Cuba's ability to buy and sell through the international banking system. Fuel cannot be delivered because the US is blocking Venezuela, the main supplier of fuel to Cuba, and Iran, which also helped with oil and gas supplies.

The United States added Cuba to the list of countries supporting terror, although, of course, Havana does not think about any terror.

Surprisingly, the White House got off with very general words about the right of people to freedom and the inadmissibility of "any violence." It seems that the events in Cuba came as a complete surprise to the current American administration.

But the republican opposition acted very harshly, stigmatizing not only the communist regime of Cuba, but also the American leadership. When the State Department spokesman Julie Chang wrote in his Twitter, that Cubans generally suffer from unstoppable wave coronavirus, Republican Senator Marco Rubio immediately gave her an angry retort, saying that her words are terrible, and that it requires from the White House the most decisive action in support of protesters.

Reports from a number of media outlets about the alleged "big doubts" of some members of the Russian government about the provision of urgent humanitarian aid to Cuba turned out to be a real fake. According to Novye Izvestia from sources on Smolenskaya Square, an Emergency Situations Ministry plane was sent to Havana with food and medicine for a total of $ 1 million. The Cubans received 250 tons of sunflower oil and 450 tons of wheat flour.

What will happen in Cuba in the near future? Nikolai Kalashnikov, Deputy Director of the Institute of Latin America of the Russian Academy of Sciences, gave his forecast to Novye Izvestia:

- The Cuban government will take the situation in the country under its full control. Probably, new arrests will follow, people who are involved in the riots will be punished. It seems to me that the Cubans will start looking for a way out of the crisis together. You look, everything will work out.

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