The protests began in San Antonio de Los Banos in the west of the island. Word of the mobilisations spread across the country leading to angry protests in the capital, Havana.
Those taking part in the protests tore up cobblestones to throw at police officers and clashed with pro-government activists.
One protester said, “I’m here because of hunger, because there’s no medicine, because of power cuts— because there’s a lack of everything.”
“We are going through really difficult times,” said dance teacher Miranda Lazara, “We need a change of system.”
Such imperialist meddling has to be firmly opposed.
But that doesn’t mean lining up behind the Cuban government when it attacks workers and the poor.
The police responded to the protesters with tear gas and batons and made many arrests. A number of prominent members of the Cuban left were among those arrested.
They included Frank Garcia Hernandez, who spoke at socialist meetings in Britain in 2019. Also seized was Maykel Gonzalez Vivero, director of Tremenda Nota, an important online magazine in defence of LGTB+ rights.
President Miguel Diaz-Canel said on Sunday, “We will not allow anyone to manipulate our situation.
“The order for combat has been given, revolutionaries to the streets.”
Driving the protests is an economic crisis that has left shop shelves bare of food and people having to queue in order to receive essential goods.
Cuba’s currency has been steadily falling in value while inflation has been rising. This, coupled with a decline in tourism, has meant Cuba’s economy is struggling.
To try and avoid economic crisis the government decided to open up more of its economy to private businesses. But this hasn’t stopped the country’s economy from diving.
The US has imposed a blockade on Cuba for decades. Sanctions were tightened by former US president Donald Trump, and this contributes to the crisis.
And while current president Joe Biden made promises to stabilise the relationship between Cuba and the US, these sanctions remain in place.
A number of those surrounding Biden have been quick to defend the protesters. Despite supportive words the White House isn’t interested in the rights of the Cuban people.
Instead the Biden crew is more interested in delegitimising the Cuban government and extending its own control.
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