For former President Fernando Henrique Cardoso, nothing justifies the Cuban regime’s crackdown on popular acts perpetrated in the country since last weekend. It is also not plausible to “make the Americans feel guilty”, adds the toucan, referring to the representatives of the regime who point the finger at the participation of the United States in the articulation of the protests.
“Just as I have always been against the armed and economic pressures exerted against the Cuban regime, I am against the stifling of popular demonstrations,” FHC said in a statement sent by its foundation. “Democracy demands respect from those who protest, even when they disagree with what they want.”
On Sunday (11), Cubans took to the streets in protests that are already considered the most important in decades on the island. Among other demands, they call for more freedom of expression and effective policies to tackle the shortage of food and medicine. Mobilization accelerated after the crisis was intensified by the effects of the Covid pandemic. Cuba saw its GDP decline by 11% last year.
The regime cracked down on the acts and, although information from the island is leaked – there are cuts to the Cuban internet – the death of a protester on the outskirts of Havana, the capital, has been confirmed. At least 100 people have been arrested by politicians and, according to the latest assessment by the Cuban Institute for Freedom of Expression and the Press, 47 communicators have suffered some form of repression.
On Tuesday (13), former president Lula (PT) also spoke of the mobilizations, but in a position opposed to that of FHC. The PT member used social media to defend the legitimacy of the Cuban government. “You haven’t seen any soldier in Cuba with his knee on the neck of a black man, kill him,” wrote the former president, referring to the murder of George Floyd, a black man killed by US police in 2020, an episode that sparked global unrest.
President Jair Bolsonaro, in turn, commented on the actions on Monday (12) and used the episode to fuel the discourse that communism threatens Brazil. “Yesterday was a very sad day, considering what happened in Cuba. A lot of people think that we will never get there, never get there [situação da] Venezuela, that we [nunca] there will be problems like they have in other countries around here, ”he said. He also said that the Cubans went to ask for food and were given “rubber, beatings and jail.”
Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez responded. On a social network, he said Bolsonaro, instead of using stocks on the island to distract from his administration’s problems, should deal with the government’s role in tackling the pandemic and the accusations. corruption it faces.
Although acts on the island have declined in recent days, activists continue to mobilize intensely on social media, using the hashtag “SOSCuba”. The regime leadership denies that the protests have a social basis and accuses the United States of articulating the protests to weaken the country and strengthen its hegemony.
In an interview with Folha, the Cuban Consul General in São Paulo, Pedro Monzón, argued that the crackdown on acts was cordial. “We do not use rubber bullets or water cannons against demonstrators, as in Latin American or European countries. We only arrest people who have committed acts of vandalism, attacked the police , as any country would, ”he said.