- Thousands of people took to the streets of the capital, where clashes with police broke out. The situation in Cuba has not been so tense since the victory of the revolution 62 years ago
- The situation has not improved due to the coronavirus, which has decimated the island’s nearly collapsed economy. The travel ban has been particularly painful for the more profitable tourism sector that provides livelihoods for thousands of Cubans
- – I recently tried to find ibuprofen on the Cuban “Allegro”, one sheet of 10 tablets cost me about $15 – says the Polish lady in an interview with Onet
- In her view, the communist government is clearly weakening with the new generation. – The current president, Miguel Diaz-Canel, has neither the respect of the nation nor the strength and intelligence of Fidel – according to his estimates
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Our interlocutor requested anonymity. As she admitted, she fears that criticism from the authorities will harm her. “I don’t want to be taken off the island where I’ve lived for 18 years,” she explains.
Riots in the streets of Cuba
– Riots have erupted in the streets since Sunday. The first occurred in San Antonio de los Banos, about 30 km west of Havana. Then in the province of Matanzas, where the Varadero resort is located. And of course in Havana, where people came out to the famous Malecon (a coastal street in northern Havana, one of the most famous – ed.), chanting: “We want freedom, we don’t want dictatorship” – reports a Polish woman living in Cuba.
Clashes took place with the police in the capital. The crowd attacked police cars and stormed dollar stores, carrying food (dollar stores offer some groceries and sanitary ware for US currency – ed.).
A video posted on Twitter shows protesters knocking on a police car in Cardenas.
Cuban Leaders: Defend the Revolution from Traitors
On Sunday, a few hours after the first demonstrations, incumbent Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel conveyed a message to the nation. He called the revolutionaries to take to the streets, who would do anything to defend the achievements of the revolution against traitors.
On Monday morning, a press conference with the participation of the President of the Republic, the Prime Minister and the ministers was broadcast on all channels for about six hours. The leaders argued that Cuba did not need humanitarian aid at all, but that the embargo was lifted by the United States – according to the pole.
The authorities renewed the blame on the United States for the riots and the difficult situation in the country. Governors refer to “organizations” in the United States, particularly in Miami, that “pay people on the island to encourage community destabilization.”
– Several people have already told me that their sons, brothers and husbands have been summoned to the reserve to come to the defense of the country – according to the Polish woman.
The current riots on the island are the largest in 27 years, but a Polish woman living in Cuba notes that taking to the streets in 1994 was a spontaneous reaction of people dissatisfied with the situation at the time, but their rebellion was quickly quelled. “Now for the first time, Cubans have the courage to voice their opposition,” he says.
The government shut down the internet
It turns out that contacting our interlocutor is very difficult. Like Alexander Lukashenko during last year’s protestsYes, and the Cuban authorities decided to isolate their citizens from the news in an attempt to disrupt the free flow of information. This step comes after pictures of crowds of demonstrators in different parts of the country began to appear on the Internet.
– Information appeared that there is an American Psiphon platform that provides a signal to the island and through it was also able to communicate – reveals the Polish woman.
Everything is missing in Cuba. “The situation is tragic in every sense of the word.”
– There is a shortage of food, and the stores that the government opened a few months ago only sell food in fake currency, the so-called MLC, as the woman describes. (MLC is the equivalent of US dollars, which can be deposited on special cards until June 21. After this date, only euros can be deposited into the card account – ed.). – For the national peso, that is, the Cuban currency, you can buy almost nothing, because the stores either have empty shelves, or only water – he describes. – The situation is almost tragic – he adds.
The lack of basic products affects the entire island population. Minced meat or chicken appears occasionally. Sausages are rationed one package per person, as long as you can buy them, because the queue for these items is very long – says the Polish woman in an interview with Onet.
Cubans queue up at a food store in Havana
In Cuba, a year ago, state-owned dollar stores, which were popular in the 1990s, were reopened, offering some food and health items in US currency. – To enter and buy anything, you must have a friend in the store, who will take you to the store for a “small” gift without waiting, or go to 4 in the morning, stand in line, hoping that before 7 in the evening you will have time to buy Something, or you can enter the store at all – Polish women respond to such conditions.
Tourist Cuba is collapsing
Cuba is one of those countries where the epidemiological reality of lack of travel and limited tourism affects a large part of society. The main source of income for the island is tourism, and the borders have been closed for more than a year. There are no tourists. As a result, about 60 percent. Society has lost the main, and sometimes the only source of income – women’s residence.
The people of Cuba are tired of the constant struggle for survival. Many things were never easy, but now it’s almost impossible to get some. Things like cheese, milk or meat, not to mention the sweets or coffee that Cuba is famous for. Even cigarettes are sold for dollars in a country that has some of the best cigars and tobacco in the world—onet interviewees said.
In hospitals, you have to buy syringes yourself
The poor state of the health services is also a problem. There is a lack of basic hygienic procedures, and there are no medicines in pharmacies. – Recently I tried to find ibuprofen on Cuban Allegro, one sheet of 10 tablets cost me the equivalent of about $ 15 – says the woman.
Even the hospitals of large cities complain of shortcomings. – Friends whose grandmother was in the hospital had to buy injections, because the facility ran out of them and it was impossible to do injections – says the Polish woman.
Undoubtedly, the epidemic situation has a significant impact on the health care system. Demonstrations take place as records are broken for the novel coronavirus disease in Cuba. On Sunday, there was a record number of 6000. 923. On Monday the number was 6 thousand. 423 cases.
Meanwhile, the Cuban government boasts of making its own vaccine for the COVID-19 virus, which is being used to vaccinate the public. – An interesting fact is that only Cubans are vaccinated with it, and not foreigners living on the island. Why, if this Cuban vaccine is so good? – Our interlocutor wonders.
Abdallah – that’s the name of the Cuban vaccine – has already been sold to Venezuela and Iran, although its efficacy has not been confirmed.
The war of old beliefs and a new reality
However, the current situation does not make everyone on the island lose faith in the system that developed after the revolution in the late 1950s.
– There are those who believe in revolution and ideas and defend them, because they were brought up on Fidel’s ideas. But Fidel is no longer around. As Raul Castro retired, and the current president, Miguel Diaz-Canel, has neither the respect of the nation nor the strength and intelligence of Fidel – says a Pole from Cuba.
Those who still believe in revolutions are convinced that the “Americans” are to blame for everything.
Aliens on the island
Everyone gets along in some way. For better or for worse, some of us work in tourism, and what goes with it, we’ve been out of work since the start of the pandemic. Families help us – says a Polish woman who lives on the island.
– Besides, foreigners in Cuba have always had more rights than the Cubans themselves. Yuma (for foreigners and tourists – ed.) is always better handled. Although at present it is difficult to use these additional rights – he adds.
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