The number of detainees in the protests last Sunday in Cuba remains unclear, while the Government adopts the first emergency measures to face the severe crisis that mobilized thousands of citizens to demonstrate in the streets.
Carlos Manuel Álvarez, Cuban journalist: “The protests have a power that has not been seen in 60 years”
Although government authorities have confirmed that there are people arrested for their participation in the protests and riots that took place in different parts of the Cuban geography on Sunday and to a lesser extent on Monday, they have not yet specified figures on the number of people deprived of liberty .
Some international organizations and activists have published lists on social networks that quantify hundreds of detainees from the events of recent days on the island, where no new incidents have been reported, but a visible police presence is maintained in the Public spaces.
Life goes on … without internet
Meanwhile, in the country the daily routine continues its course, people go to work, continue to queue for long hours in stores to buy food and continue to wait for the internet to be restored on their mobile phones.
This Thursday, most social networks and messaging platforms were still blocked in the mobile data service in Cuba, four days after the unprecedented demonstrations in which thousands of Cubans protested the shortage of food, medicine and the annoying and prolonged “blackouts”.
It is only possible until now to access the network in public parks that offer Wi-Fi wireless connection or through the Nauta-Hogar and ADSL services at homes, a service that many Cubans still cannot afford due to its high cost.
Experts, and also many ordinary Cubans, believe that the authorities have cut the internet to prevent the networks from helping to produce a repetition of the incidents that in some places became violent when confronted by protesters and government supporters.
Some young people have even resorted to ingenious tricks to regain access to the network of networks and have used platforms such as VPN to activate their mobile devices equipped with 3G and 4G technology.
Currently connecting to the internet is for the population an escape route in the midst of the economic crisis and confinement due to the pandemic, and it is also the main method with which the population within the island communicates with their families in the Foreign.
International organizations and some governments and leaders have condemned the Cuban government for this blackout. On this matter, the president of the United States, Joe Biden, assured this Thursday that he is studying whether his government has “the technological capacity to restore” access to mobile internet in Cuba.
The dissatisfaction expressed to the Government by the protesters at the shortage of basic products led to the approval of a measure that from Monday will allow travelers arriving in Cuba to bring in their luggage – without limitations or customs duties – cleaning products, food and medicines.
To that end, the Government has indicated that the “exceptional” provision, which may be in force until the end of this year, will eliminate the restrictions that until now established a series of points and weight limits from which excess tariffs are measured. of articles imported by travelers.
It remains to be seen if the new rule will be effective in the short term to alleviate the hardships suffered by the population, since due to the pandemic international flights have been reduced to a minimum for months, especially those from neighboring countries with a strong presence of migration. Cuban like the US, Mexico and Panama.
In addition, Biden has ruled out for now that he is going to facilitate the sending of remittances to the island in the short term, which was interrupted by his predecessor, Donald Trump, a measure that has also made life difficult for Cubans who receive help from their relatives. from other countries and especially from the US.
While there are calls by a large part of the international community for the Cuban government to release the detainees and fully restore internet access, several former leaders of the Latin American left have closed ranks with Havana in a virtual meeting.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bruno Rodríguez, was in a teleconference with the former presidents of Bolivia, Evo Morales; Brazil, Dilma Rousseff; Colombia, Ernesto Samper; the Undersecretary of Foreign Relations of Mexico, Maximiliano Reyes; and the executive secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), Alicia Bárcenas, among others. Before them, Rodríguez reiterated the government thesis that Sunday’s protests were generated from a “political-media” operation from the United States.