A few hours after most important protests in Cuba Since 1980, an indisputable tension runs through the island. The Government assured that it will not lose control of the streets again and the analysts’ question has to do with the short-term projections of what happened last Sunday: ¿it has been a spasmodic episode or is the beginning of a new phase of the crisis that the pandemic, the North American sanctions and the old structural problems have become intolerable?
The balance of the demonstrations that had their epicenter of gravity in Havana, and were replicated in different parts of the country, is kept under summary secret. There have never been so many shots in the air. It is not known exactly how many people were arrested by the police, nor the number of wounded. Some dissident media speak of hundreds of detainees.
The flow of information has slowed down with the internet suspension on smartphones that have become vital for the heterogeneous dissent. In that country of 11 million people, at least seven million telephones circulate. Therefore, this is the first large-scale incident filmed and even broadcast through social networks. Against this backdrop, a curfew thought in February as an instrument of the State to stop the spread of covid-19 and that, under the current circumstances, acquires another dimension.
Although nobody knows what is next, nothing will be the same after Sunday. President Miguel Díaz Canel He acknowledged that “not all” those who protested “are counterrevolutionaries.” It is hardly a “minority”. In this sense, he admitted that “we have dissatisfied people, with confusion and misunderstandings, lack of information and the desire to demonstrate.” Those who threw rubble at the police, smashed their cars, looted appliance stores or shouted “down communism“They are, in his opinion, linked to” a sector that commits crimes. “With the situation under apparent control, Díaz Canel tempered his speech:”They have to step over our corpses and we are ready for anything, “he had said, by way of warning.
For the president, the malaise “is legitimate”. However, he asked society to have the ability “to discern where they want to manipulate us.” Díaz Canel attributed the explosive combination of power cuts, shortages and the pandemic to the United States blockade, in force since 1962. The White House, he said, has a “speech of slander and double standards” regarding what is happening in the island. “Saviors the health and nutrition of the people,” he said, they are only interested in “change government“.
The protest had another seasoning: the advance of the pandemic in the province of Matanzas. The virus is spreading to the rhythm of blackouts and the government has been forced to convert some international hotels into makeshift hospitals. In the risk territories, including the capital, tests are carried out with two of the five vaccines that Cuba develops, ‘Soberana 02’ and ‘Abdala’, which are highly effective, according to the Ministry of Health.
The Venezuelan mirror
The president compared Sunday protests with what happened in Venezuela in 2017, when street clashes between radicalized opponents and the security forces caused more than 100 deaths. Not surprisingly, the first message of solidarity received was from his colleague Nicolas Maduro. The former ambassador in Caracas, and current ideological head of the PCC, Rogelio Polanco Fuentes, assured that they are trying to implement a “unconventional fighting manual“which seeks” to induce repressive actions that generate the perception that human rights are violated. “All of this” is promoted by the media and the existence of a digital public space facilitates the generation of false news. ”
The leadership, said Oscar Grandío Moráguez in ‘Hypermedia Magazine’, “does not have the capacity to avoid” the deepening of the multiple crises. The ruling elites and the Intelligence Organs, “have underestimated the mobilization capacity of society“This lack of” strategic sense “and” the most absolute disconnection with the true reality “caused that”prioritize a repressive agenda as a means of containing lawsuits. ”
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.