Wednesday, August 4

What is happening in Cuba?

Last Sunday thousands of people took to the streets starring in the largest anti-government protests in 27 years in Cuba. There are already 187 forced disappearances that have been registered during the wave of protests, as confirmed by the United Nations Committee against Forced Disappearance, and the number of injured and deceased continues to rise, although there are no official sources confirming the number. Shouting “Down with the dictator” or “Homeland and death,” the remodeled official slogan (Homeland and life), Cubans took to the streets fed up with food shortages and the lack of effective vaccines against the coronavirus. The economic crisis has been greatly aggravated by the pandemic, which has hit the tourism sector, the island’s main source of income. Cuban citizens from all social sectors have spontaneously and peacefully joined the protests called on social media and are calling for an end to an unsustainable situation that has been going on for too long. The shortage of basic products and medicines, as well as routine cuts in the electricity grid in some regions and the generalization of shops with exclusive payment in foreign currency have motivated these marches, which began in San Antonio de Los Baños, 30 kilometers from Havana, and that have spread throughout the island. The President of the Republic of Cuba, Miguel Díaz-Canel, 61, has identified the United States as the culprit of the protests. In a live broadcast on radio and television of the regime, Díaz-Canel, together with members of his executive and the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of Cuba, the only legal one on the island, said last Monday that his government seeks beat the US embargo, aggravated during the Trump administration, and has ensured that the protesters “have gotten what they deserve,” referring to the harsh repression of the protests. In addition, he has called on his supporters to take to the streets to combat the demonstrations. Economic crisis The coronavirus pandemic has hit Cuba’s economic engine, tourism, hard, adding to inflation, ongoing blackouts and a shortage of food and basic products on the island. Last year 2020, the economy had its worst data in three decades and, at the beginning of this year, the government of the regime proposed a series of economic measures to increase wages and pensions that also affected prices. This meant that, in the absence of foreign currency, freely convertible currency stores were created, in which it is only possible to pay with a credit card. Meanwhile, products in Cuban peso stores are increasingly scarce. Since last June, dollars have not been accepted in cash, the main currency in which citizens in the country receive their remittances. Coronavirus in Cuba During 2020, Cuba managed to control the pandemic only by accounting for 1,500 deaths since the virus began to spread throughout the world. However, in recent weeks there has been one of the most important outbreaks in all of Latin America. Last Sunday the health authorities reported that there were about 7,000 cases and that 31 people had died in the last day. However, the opposition assures that the data is much worse and that there are various areas that are on the verge of health collapse. In addition, the lack of efficacy of the Cuban vaccine Abdala, which the propaganda of the regime assures that it is more than 92% effective against the virus and that it requires three doses, has been the last straw. Several cases of contagion have been reported to people who had received the complete schedule and, in some independent media, there has even been talk of the death of several people after the injection. The Cuban regime Since the triumph of the Cuban Revolution in 1959, the country’s political system has been a totalitarian dictatorship, shielded under the demonization of the socialist state. Article 5 of the current Constitution establishes that ‘The Communist Party of Cuba, unique, Marti, Fidelista, Marxist and Leninist, organized vanguard of the Cuban nation, supported by its democratic character and permanent link with the people, is the political force superior leader of society and of the State ‘. Thus, sovereignty resides with the people (Article 3), but the only legal party is the Communist Party. To this belongs the current president, successor to the Castro brothers.

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