Monday, October 25

Cuban opposition leaders denounce an increase in citizen spies on the island to quell protests


A seller of Cuban flags on the Caribbean island wears a T-shirt with the image of the Argentine revolutionary leader Ernesto “Che” Guevara.

Photo: Yamil Lage / AFP / Getty Images

The dissident Cuban journalist Yoani Sánchez denounced through her podcast the alleged increase in citizen spies on the island to try to control the protesters after Sunday’s massive protest over economic conditions.

Through “Ventana 14”, Sánchez said this Friday that the so-called rapid response brigades, made up of neighbors and police dressed in civilian clothes, are prowling the streets as a result of protests demanding food, medicine and greater freedom in Cuba.

Sánchez also reported a strong police presence in the largest cities from the Caribbean island

“The government lost the street and is using everything they can to stop the proposals,” said Ted Henken, a sociology professor at Baruch College and an expert on Cuban issues.

The brigades, according to the New York Post report, are vigilante organizations that were first deployed against citizens in the 90s at the beginning of the so-called “Special Period”, when the Soviet Union withdrew economic support from the island, which resulted in the rationing of food and medicine.

“They never stopped working,” said Andy Gomez, retired dean of international studies at the University of Miami.

Citizen spies operate under the control of the Ministry of the Interior

According to Gómez, the brigades usually collaborate with undercover police officers under the control of the Ministry of the Interior (MININT).

The information collected by these groups is used to identify government opponents for arrest and incarceration, sometimes for years.

Gómez added that there are thousands of brigade members throughout the island, many are loyal to the regime, while others are forced to register in exchange for keeping their jobs in the government.

The former professor argued that Cubans allegedly fear MININT spies more than military forces.

“Cuba has never resorted to the armed forces to quell any social unrest because they consider themselves a militia of the Cuban people,” the interviewee described.

Al Jazeera reported that at least one person has died in the mobilizations and more than 100 have been arrested, including independent journalists and opposition leaders.

It is not clear the status of these people’s cases or where they are located.

Cubans in Miami continue protests

Although the protests have already waned on the island, Cubans in Miami continued this Friday with the rallies and protests, including one in front of the popular Versailles restaurant in Little Havana.

While calls for the reconnection of the internet on the island with the help of the Biden Administration continue by Cuban exile leaders such as the mayor of Miami-Dade County, Daniella Levine Cava.

Cuban president calls coverage of crisis on the island a lie

For his part, Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel called the union in the country with posts on Twitter that included photos of the citizen mobilization yesterday in favor of the Government.

“We are going to put our hearts to the common Work. A heart the size of our difficulties. #JuntosPodemos ¡Que viva #Cuba sovereign, independently and SOCIALIST! “, Reads one of the president’s tweets this Friday.

In addition, he called it infamy and a lie, they denounced them as repression against his Government.

“Cease lies, infamy and hatred. #Cuba is deeply allergic to hatred. And it will never be a land of hatred! Nothing good is built out of hatred.

Hate robs us of time to love and even love itself. To #Cuba, # PonleCorazón ”, shared the politician.

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