Massive protests erupted on Sunday in Cuba as citizens of the island nation demanded an end to the communist dictatorship as they suffer in poverty while having limited freedom.
“In a country known for repressive crackdowns on dissent, the rallies were widely viewed as astonishing,” The New York Times reported. “Activists and analysts called it the first time that so many people had openly protested against the Communist government since the so-called Maleconazo uprising, which exploded in the summer of 1994 into a huge wave of Cubans leaving the country by sea.”
The report noted that numerous videos that were posted online that showed the protests had “suddenly disappeared.” “The people are dying of hunger!” one woman shouted during a protest highlighted by the Times, “Our children are dying of hunger!” Other chants included “We want freedom” and “We want vaccines.”
“Never seen images from #Havana,” Alexandre Krauss, Senior Advisor EU Parliament, tweeted. “Thousands are mobilizing across #Cuba demanding the end of the communist dictatorship while screaming ‘we are not afraid…we are not afraid.'”
Never seen images from #Havana. Thousands are mobilising across #Cuba demanding the end of the communist dictatorship while screaming “we are not afraid…we are not afraid.”#SOSCuba #Democracypic.twitter.com/QSomExnzDw
— Alexandre Krauss (@AlexandreKrausz) July 11, 2021
This gives me chills.
Thousands of Cubans are marching on Havana’s malecón chanting “¡Libertad!” (“Freedom!).
— Giancarlo Sopo (@GiancarloSopo) July 11, 2021
“I have been covering Cuba since the 1994 rafter crisis,” New York Times reporter Frances Robles tweeted. “I have never ever seen anything like the protests today.”
The AP reported:
Police initially trailed behind as protesters chanted “Freedom,” “Enough” and “Unite.” One motorcyclist pulled out a U.S. flag, but it was snatched from him by others. … Cuba is going through its worst economic crisis in decades, along with a resurgence of coronavirus cases.
The demonstration grew to a few thousand in the vicinity of Galeano Avenue and the marchers pressed on despite a few charges by police officers and tear gas barrages. People standing on many balconies along the central artery in the Centro Habana neighborhood applauded the protesters passing by. Others joined in the march.
“We are fed up with the queues, the shortage,” one protester told the AP. “That’s why I’m here.”
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