Thursday, July 29

The Cuban regime offers the first concessions to the protesters



The Cuban regime announced on Wednesday the first package of measures to appease the population, including the free import of food and medicine, three days after unprecedented protests that, it recognized, should lead to a “Critical analysis” of problems.

The authorities agreed “to authorize, exceptionally and temporarily, the importation through the passenger, that is, the accompanying luggage on the trip, food, toilets and medicines without limit of import value and free of payment of tariffs,” said the Prime Minister, Manuel Marrero placeholder image, on Cuban television.

Facilitating the entry of essential goods was one of the calls of the massive protests on July 11 and 12 in some forty cities on the island, which faces a severe shortage of food and medicine, exacerbated by the worst economic crisis in three decades. In a recent open letter to the government, a group of artists and intellectuals had asked for precisely this measure.

“This is a measure that we are taking until December 31, then we will make an assessment,” said Marrero in the company of the Cuban president, Miguel Diaz-Canel.

Marrero also announced that there will be a prompt improvement in electricity generation to avoid the blackouts that irritate the population so much and an improvement in the national production of medicines, currently in deficit due to the lack of raw materials.

The measures are announced three days after the demonstrations on Sunday, in which thousands of Cubans took to the streets of Havana and some forty cities shouting “we are hungry“,” Freedom “and” down with the dictatorship. ” The protests, which continued in certain parts on Monday, left one dead, dozens injured and more than a hundred detained.

Although he reiterated the accusations against the United States, which he points to as the instigator of these demonstrations through a campaign on Twitter with the label #SOSCubaIn his speech, Díaz-Canel changed his tone.

«We also have to get experience from the riots, we also have to make a critical analysis of our problems. Also maybe we will have to ask for an apology with someone who in the midst of the confusion that arises in events like these has been confused, has been mistreated, “said the president.

The measures also include a provisional program that would benefit some 300,000 people who live in places other than where they are registered, and therefore have no possibility of buying the subsidized basic basket that the State sells to each citizen.

It is “a provisional mechanism that guarantees that people who are in this situation can acquire the basic basket in the place where they are residing today,” said Marrero.

Cuba has insufficient food production and import 80% of what they consume its 11.2 million inhabitants, which has been complicated by the current economic crisis and the pandemic.

The Minister of Economy, Alejandro Gil, announced for its part that state companies will be able to assign wages freely according to their productive results. “The salary scale limit for a group of State Companies is eliminated, at first,” Gil said in the same television broadcast.

The mobile internet service, a great ally of the protests and which was cut off by the government on Sunday, began to reestablish itself this Wednesday in Cuba, but it was impossible to access social networks with mobile data.

The access to WhatsApp, Facebook and TwitterThrough 3G or 4G technologies, it was still blocked, but it was possible to enter the network in an unstable way. On the street people managed to connect intermittently.

“Social networks are totally aggressive, calling for murder, lynching, and attacking people and, in particular, people identified as revolutionaries,” said Díaz-Canel, who considered them “media terrorism».

Washington on Tuesday called for the rapid restoration of “all media, digital and non-digital.” «Closing access to technology, closing information channels, that does nothing to respond to the needs and legitimate aspirations of the Cuban people“Said State Department spokesman Ned Price.

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