People are at the point when things explode, and when they explode it’s difficult to control.Harvard Professor Alejandro de la Fuente on rising protests in Cuba.
- Protests are being described as “unprecedented.” Here’s The Wall Street Journal’s description: “The protests are unprecedented in a country with tight police control and surveillance on dissidents, analysts say.”
- Cuba is a communist nation. Cubans often lack basic needs like food, supplies and electricity. Protesting the current government regime comes with the risk of violence, prison or even death.
- Cuba blames the U.S. for stoking dissent. On Sunday, the U.S. government officially voiced support for the protestors, while the Cuban president has said, “The order for combat has been given” to confront “revolutionaries” in the streets.
- Today, President Biden confirmed his support for the Cuban people: “We stand with the Cuban people and their clarion call for freedom and relief … The Cuban people are bravely asserting fundamental and universal rights … The United States calls on the Cuban regime to hear their people and serve their needs at this vital moment rather than enriching themselves.”
- Just a note: You may not see a lot of photos or videos of the protests as the Cuban government has sporadically shut down the internet.
Why It Matters: With the combination of pressure from the COVID-19 pandemic (rising infections) and economic hardships (shortages, unemployment), a question remains: Will dissatisfaction with the current government lead to the first significant change in Cuban leadership in 60 years?
Historical Context: Cuba wasn’t always a communist nation (a communist regime came into power in the 1950s), and at one time, Cuba was a thriving country.
SOURCES: Here’s the latest – Demonstrators in Havana protest shortages, rising prices
Read President Biden’s full statement HERE
P.S. This is an interesting read and shows why what happens in Cuba may involve other “players” such as Russia: Russia, Cuba seek closer ‘strategic partnership’
by Jenna Lee,