five days After a series of anti-government demonstrations in Cuba Answered by the police, revolutionaries and the self-criticism of President Miguel Diaz-Canel – with some relief measures – the Caribbean nation appears calm. But many are wondering, for how long?
Meanwhile, government sympathizers still controlled squares and parks on Friday, police custody in uniform decreased and circulation of vehicles and people returned to normal; Mobile internet data service – which authorities cut on Sunday – remained choppy or had many leaked pages.
“There is a lot of disgust, we should talk more, do more things, and those that were wrong should be corrected,” said Abel Alba, 50, a civil engineer. News agency. “The president wanted to pass his hand to the thing a little bit,” added the man the government had waited “too long” to hear the people’s claims on the streets.
The protests began on Sunday and spread to a lesser extent on Monday and Tuesday in different parts of Havana and the country. Thousands of people took to the streets with demands ranging from fed up of queues, food and medicine shortages, power cuts, and government unresponsiveness to the change in the political model.
At first, Diaz-Canel responded by searching for the culprits and pointed to the suffocation caused by US sanctions on the island, the economic blow of the coronavirus epidemic, and the crackdown by Cuban-American groups on social networks. But in the end he also focused on the responsibilities of the Cuban leadership.
In this direction, ministers issued a mixture of declarations of measures and promises that included permits for travelers to import foodstuffs and medicines without borders and emergency registration of the supply book – which every Cuban receives – from those who were outside their country. place of origin.
“Absence of politics is politics. The Cuban government has just shown that it can always let food and medicine in without a quantity limit José Gasan Neves, director of the independent digital newspaper, El Toque, also wrote on his Twitter account. “People bend their arms.”
The authorities confirmed again Intent to terminate the license to operate small and medium-sized enterprises as a source of employment and Program for state-owned enterprises to pay more than the current wage scale.
What all officials have made clear is that they are not willing to make changes to the island’s political model.
Sitting on a street where 66-year-old Marilyn Rodriguez works as a peddler, she was not optimistic about the government’s announcements on Friday. “There is no medicine, nothing, no food… This is on top.”
According to Diaz-Canel, among the protesters There were four sectors involved: Radical opponents committed to the American solution – Flags of that country were raised in protests and demanded humanitarian intervention for Washington – And marginal criminals who took advantage of the opportunity to loot. in third place Really desperate people From the impact of the crisis on their daily lives and Finally young people who do not have projects in society.
The rallies turned violent, and there were clashes with the police, the destruction of patrol cars, the looting of shops, the smashing of windows, the stoning of a children’s hospital, arrests and violent injuries.
A large part of the population was disturbed by acts of vandalism and the destruction of infrastructure.
Groups of revolution supporters also took to the streets and clashed with protesters in some places, although the intention, according to their version, was to prevent vandalism.
“They were coming down from Calzada de San Miguel (from Padron), we were going up and trying to persuade them, but these guys were violent and threw stones at us,” said Julio Cesar Perez, an employee of the Ministry of Construction and in charge of the Ministry of Construction. A member of the Communist Party, who noted that several of his brothers in religion were injured in the melee.
One of the opponents of the government died and the number of detainees is unknown, although opponents in the networks indicated that there are more than a hundred. Colonel of the Ministry of Interior, Morema Pravet, said that all detainees are being treated for offenses such as disturbing public order, assaults or assaults.
on Friday The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Chilean Michelle Bachelet, has called for the protesters’ release A number of independent journalists reported on social media that they are still in police custody, and the official, in turn, called for an end to US sanctions.
Cuban economist Omar Everleni Perez told the Associated Press that what the government announced were “positive measures, but they are not enough.”
Referring to import permits by private entrepreneurs without going through a state monopoly, foreign companies can create retail markets or raise the ceiling “without affecting ideology, there is a lot of space in which the state can continue to take action,” said the specialist, referring to import permits by private entrepreneurs without going through a state monopoly. of agricultural prices in order to “increase supply”.
But political analysts have warned that the economic challenge is too great.
I think the government is trying to signal to the people that it understands their desperation and that it will seek to relieve some of their misery. “The problem is that the government simply doesn’t have a lot of resources they can devote to doing that,” said William Leo Grande, an expert on Cuba at the American University in the United States.
Leograndi pointed out that the unrest in Cuba and the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moise put the Caribbean region back on the agenda of US President Joe Biden. Although his next actions are unclear.
“They keep promising (from Washington) that they will do the things President Biden said he would do during the campaign… ease the sanctions on Cuba that are hurting families, bring back travel, reopen the consular section of the US embassy. But he actually did nothing.” Now, after the events of this week, “What the administration will do with Cuba is still in the air.”