The Cuban regime allowed free entry into the country of food, medicine and hygiene products brought by travelers, three days after intense protests on the island. The measure comes into force on Monday (19),
The government has agreed to authorize “exceptionally and temporarily” the importation of these products, brought by passengers, without limit of value and without payment of fees, announced the number two of the regime, Manuel Marrero, on Cuban television, alongside the country’s leader, Miguel Diaz-Canel. Marrero also explained that the measure is valid until December 31 and that after this period it will be reassessed.
Cuban laws allow the non-commercial, duty-free import of 10 kg of drugs, while imposing stricter limits on food and other products. According to number two, there will be no restrictions imposed by the regime, nor by customs, and who will determine that limit will be the airline.
This was one of the demands of academics and intellectuals in an open letter recently sent to the government. The crisis in the country also motivated demonstrations on Sunday (11) and Monday (12), in around 40 towns on the island.
The acts that have taken to the streets of the country have an unusual dimension compared to those observed in recent decades. Cubans are calling for more freedom and effective policies to address food and medicine shortages. Mobilization accelerated after the crisis was intensified by the effects of the Covid pandemic. Cuba saw its GDP fall by 11% last year.
Although the demands were already known to the regime and to the international community, the volume and consistency of the protests were surprising. In recent years, the regime was already facing mobilizations, marked in large part by the participation of artists, journalists and intellectuals, who built networks of articulation after a decree that further limited freedom of movement. expression in 2018.
Unlike these mobilizations, the acts that began at the end of the week added popular participation and were recorded in several provinces. However, the regime continues to deny that the mobilizations have a social basis.
In an attempt to stifle the mobilisations, which have strengthened on social networks, the island’s regime also cut off the Internet from the population on Monday, and platforms such as WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram and Telegram are working with it. instability – when they did.
According to information published by social organizations, around 100 people have been arrested since the start of the protests. The crackdown on the press has also intensified. At least 42 journalists have been threatened, psychologically and physically assaulted, or imprisoned, according to figures from the Cuban Institute for Freedom of Expression and the Press. One of the jailed reporters is Cuban Camila Acosta, a contributor to the Spanish newspaper ABC.
At least one man who took part in the wave of popular protests has died, the Interior Ministry reported on Tuesday. Diubis Laurencio Tejeda, 36, lived in the Arroyo Naranjo neighborhood on the outskirts of Havana, one of those who reported acts against the Cuban regime on Monday.