The Communist Party of Cuba reacted to the repercussions of acts organized against the regime a week ago and called on thousands of supporters to demonstrate in the streets of Havana. They protested against the trade embargo imposed by the United States and reaffirmed their support for the Cuban revolution.
The groups gathered in the capital on Saturday (18). They waved the flags of Cuba and the July 26 Movement (a revolutionary group that overthrew dictator Fulgencio Batista in 1959). There were also posters with photos of Fidel Castro (1926-2016) and his younger brother, Raúl, who attended the events in his general uniform.
Raúl, 90, left the leadership of the Communist Party in April, ending a period of more than six decades in which the Castro brothers ruled the country. Since then, it was the first time he had participated in public events.
The demonstrators were called by groups divided into quarters and called “committees for the defense of the revolution”. According to Margaritza Arteaga, a social worker who attended the events and gave an interview to the Reuters news agency, these committees sent buses to bring supporters to Havana. She said she boarded at dawn on her way to the scene.
“With or without a pandemic, we must defend [a Revolução Cubana] and here we are, to protect and take care of ourselves, because we must also defend what belongs to us, “Professor Héctor Román, 73, who took part in the act, told AFP news agency.
Shouting “Down with the Yankees”, the protest was a response to protests that erupted in various parts of the country last Sunday (11) amid widespread shortages of basic commodities, demands for political rights and freedom of movement. expression, and the worst epidemiological moment on the island since the start of the pandemic. The island of 11.2 million people has more than 275,000 cases of Covid-19 and 1,843 deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
After last week’s actions, the regime allowed unrestricted entry of food and medicine from Monday (19), but accused protesters of criticizing the country’s command for being funded by the United States. .
The leader of the country, Miguel Díaz-Canel, who combines the positions of president and leader of the Communist Party, told his supporters that “the enemy of Cuba has once again set about destroying sacred unity and tranquility citizens … once again the embargo, aggression and terror, “he said. According to him, there is an overflowing hatred in social media against Cuba, but what the world sees about the island is a lie that has caused immeasurable damage to the national soul.
Díaz-Canel also said that the Cuban regime does not repress its people and that the fake images posted on the Internet glorify contempt and destruction of property. “No lie has been raised by chance or mistake. Everything is coldly calculated in an unconventional war manual,” added the Cuban leader, who turned to accuse the Americans of fomenting popular revolt.
Shortly before the official act began in the capital, Cuban authorities arrested a man who was shouting slogans against the regime in the midst of the crowd. According to witnesses, he proclaimed “freedom” and “the homeland and life”, the title of a song that has become a kind of hymn for detractors of the regime.
The exact number of people detained during or after last week’s protests is still unknown, but the latest tally by human rights group Cubalex puts at least 450 in jail, though part of that total has already been released. The regime did not provide official data on the arrests, but said some people were detained on suspicion of organizing “anti-patriot riots” or engaging in acts of vandalism.