Three Years Later, What Has Become of the Repressors of 11J?

The change that has taken place in thousands of people has been so profound and rapid that, in other circumstances, it would have taken several decades.

Demonstration on 11 July 2021 repressed in Villa Clara / Capture/Archive

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Yoani Sánchez, Havana, 11 July 2024 —  Three years have passed since the historic protests that shook the Cuban streets on 11 July 2021, but it seems like more time has passed. The change that has taken place in thousands of people on this island has been so profound and rapid that, in other circumstances, several decades would have been needed to achieve a similar effect. If the transformation experienced by the protesters, their families and, especially, those imprisoned for that day has been rapid and significant, a metamorphosis has also taken place among the ranks of the repressors.

Angela was 76 years old on 11J and, when she heard the first echoes of the demonstrations, she wanted to go out with a stick and confront the young people who were shouting their discontent in the streets of the city of Camagüey. A member of the Communist Party, a staunch follower of every official campaign that shaped her life – from volunteer work to missions abroad – she felt absolute contempt for those “ungrateful kids” who wanted to “overthrow the Revolution.”

Now, 36 months later, she curses angrily every time there is a blackout, has raised the tone of her criticism of President Miguel Díaz-Canel, asked to leave the ranks of the Cuban Communist Party (PCC) and is packing her suitcase to go to Spain through the Law of Democratic Memory, after dusting off an Asturian grandfather.

Yuri was one of those who carried out attacks near the Havana Capitol. Years as an informant for State Security in the Jesús María neighborhood made him close to those agents of the political police who always carry pseudonyms like Ernesto, Camilo or Alejandro. That day, one of them warned him that “los gusanos” — the worms — wanted to “take over the headquarters of the National Assembly and overthrow the Government.”

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At 23  and with his long sessions at the gym, it was “a cakewalk,” he would later boast when telling how he broke heads, punched stomachs and helped put several of the protesters in the paddy wagons that carried off hundreds of detainees. Months ago he deleted his Facebook account where he boasted of his excesses, obtained ‘Humanitarian Parole‘ to emigrate to the United States and, from Jacksonville, Florida, he now insists that he will not return to Cuba “not even tied up.”

Months ago he deleted his Facebook account where he boasted of his excesses, he obtained ‘Humanitarian Parole’ and insists that he will not return to Cuba “not even tied up”

Paloma, 19, was one of those summoned to the act of redress for the popular protests organized by the government days after 11J on the Havana coast. At dawn, the young university student arrived at the place, passed through the metal detector placed for the occasion and chanted some slogans in a tone of eternal victory. At her school she promised to join the Rapid Response Brigades to defend “the country from falling into the hands of the enemy.”

Already a graduate of her specialty, she now joins the ranks of the unemployed who do not want to work for the State for a miserable salary but have not managed to get into a prosperous MSME that guarantees them a living. Her parents have put the family home of “capitalist construction, ready to move in” up for sale and with that money they hope to finance the three tickets to Managua that will get them off the Island as soon as possible.

Three repressors, three stories of disillusionment that could be multiplied by thousands, by hundreds of thousands. None of them is at this moment willing or available to return to the streets to defend the Cuban regime. Between emigration and disillusionment, their revolutionary energy has been reduced or buried. Some could even swell the ranks of those who shout “Homeland and Life!”, “We are not afraid!” and “We want change!” if indignation were to fill the streets again. Does this mean that another explosion is near? If disappointment with the political model has increased in the ranks of the “faithful” themselves, is another 11J approaching?

This July, the reasons for social protest are greater than they were three years ago. There has been growing discontent with the worsening economic crisis, with the inflation that has plunged millions of Cubans into poverty, with the electricity shortage that has plunged us into long hours of darkness, and  with the official blunders when it comes to applying solutions to get out of the quagmire. But the legal, judicial and police mechanisms have been greatly reinforced to avoid an uprising. The long prison sentences against the protesters, not only three years ago, but also in subsequent protests, have worked as a deterrent and the exodus has reduced the number of potential protesters.

But not everyone can board a plane. Among those who are condemned to remain in the country due to a lack of resources and contacts is the ferment of another possible 11J. On which side will Angela, Yuri and Paloma who are still in Cuba, find themselves when that day comes?

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COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORKThe 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.

 

The Official ‘Summer Mode’ Campaign Seeks To Hide Cubans’ Sad Reality

In the official “summer mode,” people do not stay at home with a candle or a generator to overcome the blackouts

Screenshot of the video clip with which the government promotes summer in Cuba / Canal Caribe/YouTube

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Yoani Sánchez, Havana, 30 June 2024 — Before everything smelled different. The aroma that reached us during the months of July and August was that of the syrups from the slushies that refreshed, the cloying fragrance of the coconut lotion to tan on the beach, and the aroma of the pork rinds in the carnival kiosks. Now, Havana stinks everywhere and not even the official “summer mode” campaign can cover up the stenche of humidity, sewage and anguish.

This Sunday, a mountain of garbage on the corner of Neptuno and Campanario streets synthesized part of the essence of a city plunged into crisis and miasmas. Among the waste that overflowed the sidewalk and forced passersby to share space with the old collective taxis that pass along the central avenue, the box of a battery-powered fan stood out, a coveted object in a country where no one is excited about the end, in the short or medium term, of unwanted electrical outages.

In “summer mode” teenagers dance without worry, although in Havana’s slums parents advise their children not to go out at night

A few centimeters from the appliance packaging, a cardboard box labeled with the Mexican brand Richmeat reminded us of one of the foods most consumed by families on this island. A “mixed seasoning” mincemeat with little nutritional value and dubious composition that has come to replace in many Cuban dishes the unattainable beef, the very expensive pork, the unstable chicken or the disappeared fish. Another empty box, which once had imported yogurts, stood out on the mound of waste and completed a painful part of our daily life: those products that can only be consumed by those who have foreign currency or family abroad to buy them.

A stench that fills everything, that sticks to our clothes, gets into our noses and we take home stuck in our hair and attached to our skin / 14ymedio

The trash diver who rummaged through the bags and remains to try to save something to resell later could not be missing from this puzzle made from stench and debris. Both the poor collector with his frayed jacket and his extremely thin body, and the neighbors who passed by and sorted through the debris of domestic life, ended up impregnated with the smell of so much filth. A stench that fills everything, that sticks to our clothes, gets into our noses and that we take home stuck in our hair and attached to our skin. continue reading

None of that stench seems to reach the idyllic scenes of sand, sea and fun that the official media broadcasts these days as a preamble to summer. In the musical theme that serves as the soundtrack to the school holidays, joy overflows, young people do not assemble a raft of disappointment to jump into the sea, the singer fantasizes about having “a good beer” on the seashore, without alluding to the fact that such an act would cost a retiree an entire week of pension, and everything exudes the perfume of hope.

Everything smells brand new in that parallel reality that they invite us to believe in

In “summer mode” teenagers dance without worry, although in Havana’s slums parents advise their children not to go out at night because “a stab wound awaits you on any corner.” In “summer mode” the national obsession is not to buy a ticket to fly to Managua, and joy fills everything, displacing the popular weariness that does not sneak in anywhere in this stage set up to deceive the naive and the uninformed.

In the “summer mode” broadcast on national television, my city does not stink, people do not use a candle or a battery pack so their homes can overcome the blackout, and a lanky man with a lost look does not explore the dirt in search of of something salvageable or a little food to put in his mouth. Everything smells brand new in that parallel reality that they invite us to believe in. It has the aroma of a baby cologne trying to cover up the stench of collapse.

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COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORKThe 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.

With Bated Breath, Cubans Watch the Elections in Venezuela

It is not only about elections that could change the course of Venezuelans but also about their consequences for the interior of our Island.

In Venezuela, a small electoral gap has been opened to shake off Nicolás Maduro / EFE

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Yoani Sánchez, Generation Y, 23 May 2024 — The news is fragmented and confusing, but in Cuba people are “alert” when it comes to the electoral process in Venezuela. In the midst of daily problems, power cuts that are spreading throughout the island and inflation that has sunk the purchasing power of a good part of the population, it is hard to believe that what is happening abroad could be a topic of interest here. But the July 28th meeting is not just any event and it is not in just any country.

At the beginning of this century, the alliance between Havana and Caracas had signs of eternity. The generous oil subsidy that Hugo Chávez granted to the Island allowed the Cuban regime to abandon some of the economic reforms forced by the crisis after the fall of the Soviet Union. As in any political marriage, both parties not only joined forces in the economy, international diplomacy and ideological discourse but also harmonized in their methods.

Chavismo seemed ever more similar to Castroism. The persecution of opponents, the illegalization of parties, the execution of the reputations of adversaries, and exile as the only option for those who opposed him became everyday situations in Venezuela. The hijacking of democratic institutions, the dismantling of the free press and the political tantrums in international forums completed the picture of similarities. But, unlike in Cuba, in the Bolivarian nation a small electoral gap was left open to shake off Nicolás Maduro. continue reading

Now, with just a few weeks left before the presidential elections in Venezuela, we Cubans are holding our breath. We know that any justification can emerge from the Miraflores palace to cancel the electoral process and we also know the thousand and one tricks that authoritarians can pull out of their sleeves to avoid leaving power. We move between expectation and fear. No one knows better than we do what is at stake.

Between expectation and fear we move. Nobody, like us, knows what is at stake 

Not only are these elections likely to change the course of Venezuelans’ national life, but their consequences for the interior of our island are impossible to calculate. Not only is there a probable cut in the supply of Venezuelan oil to Cuba, which has already been reduced in recent months, but there is also the message that will reach so many of my compatriots who have lost hope of shaking off a dictatorship.

If Maduro goes to the polls, he is very likely to lose resoundingly, at least that is what the polls indicate. But before that day, he could invent a military conflict that would force him to declare a state of emergency or invalidate Edmundo González Urrutia, the main opposition candidate who is overshadowing him. Anything is possible, but any such outcome would sink his regime even further into disrepute and economic sanctions.

Meanwhile, in Cuba, millions of eyes are watching the electoral ups and downs in Caracas. One day we wake up skeptical thinking: “He’ll do something, he’ll surely cancel everything before losing.” But the next day the optimistic streak takes over and we say to ourselves: “If they win, so will we.” There are more than two months left. There is time for hope and time for disappointment. Whatever happens, the shock wave will reach this Island.

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Editor’s note: This article was originally published on DW and is reproduced under license from the author.

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COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORKThe 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.

Graduate in Journalism in Cuba? No, Thanks

The imposition of military service for young women who want to study the degree reduces the number of students

Journalism students from the University of Havana, on a recent visit to the official newspaper ‘Granma’ / Granma

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Yoani Sánchez, Generation Y, Havana, 25 June 2024 — It was once a career competed for by students with the best grades, but in recent years its enrollment has been plummeting. Entering University to study Journalism no longer unleashes the passions of yesteryear and the number of potential graduates has decreased significantly. In the most recent 2nd National Plenary Session of the Union of Journalists of Cuba, the despair of the directors of the official press due to the lack of relief was the star of part of the meeting.

The decrease in the number of students, which had begun to be noticed some time ago, has become more pronounced after Active Military Service (SMA) was established as a mandatory requirement for girls who choose to study this specialty from academic year 2024-2025. For the dean of the Faculty of Communication at the University of Havana, Ariel Terrero, the implementation of this condition is “a failure” and he questions whether the SMA serves to “educate and ideologically train these young women.”

The decision to force the students to spend a year as recruits was evidently intended as another form of political filtering and indoctrination. Military training would help mold them to follow orders, to not question the authority of their superiors, and to put the submission and docility of a soldier before any possible criticism or personal rebellion. Life in a barracks would prepare them for the journalistic newsrooms controlled by the Communist Party by training them in the maxim that all insubordination is also an act of betrayal. continue reading

These Cuban women who dreamed of writing reports or covering an event for a television news program decided to put their vocation aside rather than wear an olive green uniform

However, instead of running smiling and confident towards the rifles, these Cuban women who dreamed of writing reports or covering an event for a television news program decided to put their vocation aside rather than wear an olive green uniform. The result of this imposition has not been what the authorities expected. Instead of future reporters shooting at targets and crawling on the ground camouflaged to surprise the enemy, what has happened is the exodus of applicants to enter a career in Journalism.

The crisis in this specialty has been brewing for decades. Some of those who graduate from their classrooms each year end up not practicing the profession, emigrating or switching to independent journalism. This is the case of Lili and Manuel — whose names have been changed to avoid reprisals — who are part of a recent batch that left the Faculty of Communication at the University of Havana. She took advantage of a health problem to not even begin her Social Service; he worked for just a few months at a radio station and asked for leave.

The reasons for not working in a profession for which they have sacrificed so much range from low salaries, to the desire to emigrate, to the conviction that in an official media they will not be able to practice the type of journalism they want to do. Less than half a year on Cuban radio was enough for Manuel to understand that “you have to ask permission for everything.” A couple of reports he prepared with testimonies collected on the streets were never broadcast. “The editors dragged their feet but it was evident that they did not like the complaints of those interviewed about the situation in the country; they said that those people who spoke did not offer hope or propose constructive solutions.”

Now, the young man publishes under a pseudonym for an independent media outlet while he waits for humanitarian parole through his father, who lives in the United States. “I don’t want to complicate myself by working in an official media, lest I have problems leaving later.” Lili, now recovered from her illness, writes weekly horoscope texts for a digital site outside of Cuba that pays her by the piece and in dollars.

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COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORKThe 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.

After a Fall, the Dollar Gains Momentum in Cuba’s Informal Market

On the streets of the Island, the conviction grows that there will be no breaks on the rise of the US currency

The mass exodus that the Island has been experiencing for several years has also ended up crowning the “dollar emperor.” / EFE

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Yoani Sánchez, Generation Y, Havana, 11 June 2024 — Like in those movies where the main character is injured, rolls in the mud and then gets up to say “it was nothing, just a scratch,” the dollar has begun to recover in the Cuban informal market after a fall that has lasted just a couple of weeks. On the streets of the Island, the conviction is growing that the stumble has only been to gain momentum and that there will be no breaks on the rise of the US currency.

At the beginning of the month of May, the dollar, or the fula as it is popularly referred to, reached close to 400 Cuban pesos in the clandestine currency purchase and sale networks. That figure, in addition to being unprecedented, revealed the weakness of salaries on the Island, where a health professional, with a specialty under their belt, barely earns the equivalent of less than 50 dollars per month. Nor did a drop in the value of what is also called, ironically, “the enemy’s currency,” mean a moderation in the prices of basic products.

Those who receive dollars from abroad held their breath and their wallets to avoid selling their currencies on the days when ‘the green’ experienced a fall

Those who receive dollars from abroad held their breath and their wallets to avoid selling their currencies on the days when ‘the green’ experienced a fall. But those who live only on a salary in national currency could not enjoy the fact that the bill with the face of George Washington could be exchanged for less than 350 pesos. No private business, of those that have begun to spread across the Island and which mainly offer imported foods, lowered the prices of their merchandise. No collective taxi driver, fruit and vegetable merchant, or produce hauler took a centavo off their fares. continue reading

Why this paralysis in the face of the decline in the value of the dollar? The reason points to the skepticism surrounding the weak Cuban peso and the popular conviction that, in addition to the oscillations and any setbacks that the US currency suffers, it is money backed by elements that those banknotes with the images of José Martí, Antonio Maceo y Calixto García are almost completely missing. The dollar enjoys everything that national money lacks: trust among those who use it, productive support and international financial entities that support it.

Another reason for not getting carried away by the setback suffered by ‘the green’ was the suspicion that its slippage was being influenced by false advertisements for the sale of foreign currency, at a lower price, coming from the Cuban regime’s bot factory. On the streets of the Island, many considered that officialdom had used force to adulterate the result of the algorithm that, on the independent site El Toque, calculates the value of foreign currencies on the Cuban black market. That intuition was accompanied by the conviction that maintaining that pulse was almost impossible for the Plaza de la Revolución and that it would end up losing it, as has happened.

This week, the dollar has once again touched 400 Cuban pesos and the short- and medium-term forecast is that its comeback will continue without major obstacles along the way.

This week, the dollar has once again touched 400 Cuban pesos and the short- and medium-term forecast is that its comeback will continue without major obstacles along the way. One does not have to be an expert in finance or a university graduate in Economics to conclude that the national currency is mortally wounded.

The low productivity of industry, the agricultural sector and other networks that generate goods and services have dug the grave of the peso. The restrictions on withdrawing cash from banks, partly motivated by the economic crisis but also by an official desire to collect money in circulation to force the decline of currencies, has increased suspicion about the currency in which Cuban salaries are paid. Informal dollarization has spread and entrepreneurs prefer to understand each other in the language of currencies. The few Cubans who maintain savings have understood that it is better to keep greenbacks under the mattress.

The mass exodus that the Island has been experiencing for several years has also ended up crowning the “dollar emperor.” The demand in the informal market for this currency is motivated, to a large extent, by the need to pay for tickets to emigrate and to finance the costs of transportation through Central America to the southern border of the United States. The bills with the face of Camilo Cienfuegos or Ernesto Che Guevara have no place in the pockets of these migrants; the paper money they carry has the penetrating gaze and stately bearing of Abraham Lincoln printed on it.

Editor’s Note: This text was originally published in Deutsche Welle in Spanish

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COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORKThe 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.

A Mexico Lukewarm to and Complicit With Authoritarianism, a Terrible Scenario for Latin America

 With more than 98 million Mexicans called to the polls, what happens next Sunday will determine the complicity or firmness of the Mexican Government in the face of dictatorships in the region

Andrés Manuel López Obrador, president of Mexico, hugs his Cuban counterpart, Miguel Díaz-Canel, after the awarding him the Mexican Order of the Aztec Eagle Decoration. (@lopezobrador_)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Yoani Sánchez, Havana, 29 May 2024 — Several electoral processes of vital importance for the region will impact the short and medium term path of Latin America. But none of these elections will leave a greater mark on public relations and the consensus positions taken by the continent than the elections that will take place on June 2 in Mexico. The northern nation sets, to a large extent, the pace of diplomacy in this part of the world.

With more than 98 million Mexicans called to the polls, what happens next Sunday will determine the complicity or firmness of the Mexican Government in the face of the region’s dictatorships. Although the polls show the official candidate, Claudia Sheinbaum, 61, as the favorite, her mandate does not have to strictly follow what was laid down by her predecessor, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, regarding the Cuban, Venezuelan and Nicaraguan regimes. The first woman to become president of Mexico can opt for position that is less benevolent and complicit with the authoritarianisms of this hemisphere. 

The first woman to become president of Mexico can opt for position that is less benevolent and complicit with the authoritarianisms of this hemisphere

In the six-year term that López Obrador has been in power, blindness to the excesses committed by Havana, Caracas and Managua has been a hard blow for the millions of citizens of those nations. The politician has not only remained silent in the face of the repressive waves that, as in Cuba after the popular protests of 11 July 2021, left more than a thousand political prisoners, but he has supported in international forums, invited to official events and propped up with oil Mexican a ruler whom no one elected at the polls, as is the case of Miguel Díaz-Canel.

The leader of Mexico’s Morena Party has made clear his sympathy towards Castroism and the old ideological ties that unite him to a failed regime that has condemned its population to permanent economic crisis and lack of civic rights. In the mass exodus that Cuba is experiencing, with part of that scenario the Mexican territory through which the “ordinary rafters” cross to reach the southern border of the United States, López Obrador has failed continue reading

to point out the responsibilities of Havana. The Island in flight is fundamentally determined by inefficient economic policies and the reduction of fundamental rights that have characterized the Cuban model for more than half a century.

Should she become president — and the polls indicate that she is the favorite — Sheinbaum can distance herself from that path of concomitance and myopia that her predecessor has followed in relation to Havana. It would be enough to lower the tone of camaraderie, reduce Díaz-Canel’s prominence in regional events and provide greater support to Cuban emigrants, recognizing them as refugees fleeing authoritarianism, to distance herself from the path of collusion that her predecessor has plowed.

It would be enough to lower the tone of camaraderie, reduce Díaz-Canel’s prominence in regional events and provide greater support to Cuban emigrants

The priority of the new president’s mandate, whatever name the polls show, will undoubtedly focus on the deep problems that afflict Mexico. Violence, caused largely by organized crime, is a priority that the president will probably have to face with different methods than those of López Obrador, given the little effect of these strategies in a reality where insecurity has not stopped growing in the last years.

However, a Mexico absorbed in its emergencies is also a problem for the region that needs its active leadership and without half measures. A first step is to assume that leading role would be to make clear an unrestricted attachment to democracy and a rejection of regimes such as those of Daniel Ortega, Nicolás Maduro and Miguel Díaz-Canel. These men of bad company only diminish the prestige, credibility and diplomatic strength of a country that is destined to assume leadership for freedom in this region.

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This text was originally published in Deutsche Welle for Latin America.

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COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORKThe 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.

First There Was Email

I feel deep gratitude for being able to contribute, from the press, to the construction of a democratic and free society as the first step towards inevitable political change.

Havana Bay captured at dawn from the editorial team of ’14ymedio’ / 14ymedio

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Yoani Sánchez, 21 May 2024 — At first it was email. At dawn on the 21st of May 2014, when the first cover of 14ymedio was published, most of the content that could be read on this digital site had traveled through email. Now, accustomed to having a web browsing service on our mobile phones, and despite the poor quality of the connection, it is difficult to remember how a newspaper was made without being able to connect directly to the Internet. But that is how it all started.

During the months and years following that birth, the alarm clock in our house was always set for three in the morning. At that time, through Nauta’s mailbox, we received the first articles published each day in the official press, the technical and editorial support of our team in Madrid and the headlines from numerous sites that, through RSS [Really Simple Syndication], gave us a vision of which topics and news was going to mark the beginning of the editorial day.

Even for those of us who had created blogs practically offline and posted blindly on Twitter, updating and nurturing this journal was an extremely complicated and exhausting challenge. We had, of course, the compensation of the words of encouragement from the readers, the gradual growth of the audience, the mentions and links to our work in the pages of other media, the enthusiasm of the reporters on the street and the usual insults from Cuban oficialdom, which blocked our website from the first moment.

Like our nation, which long ago stopped being contained on an Island, this newspaper spans both sides of the borders, it is a child of the globalization of the Cuban issue

Continuing to publish during those extreme moments would not have been possible without the support of colleagues who, outside the Island, especially in Spain, were our eyes and our hands to keep the newspaper alive. That symbiosis between the inside and the outside gave shape, personality and style to the medium that turns a decade old this Tuesday. Like our nation, which long ago stopped being contained on an Island, this newspaper spans sides of the borders, it is a child of the globalization of the Cuban issue.

After those initial days came the hardest part: working steadily, raising the quality of our articles and gaining the trust of Internet users. To avoid becoming a ‘rag’, to avoid the attempts of groups or movements to make us spokespersons for their initiatives, to evade police sieges and operations around our Editorial Office in Havana and to not lose our sanity in the exercise of independent journalism under a regime allergic to freedom of the press has also been part of the challenges of this decade.

In December 2018, with the arrival of the internet access service on mobile phones, it seemed that, at least from a technological point of view, our informative task would become more bearable. But the frequent service cuts, intermittent or massive, that seek to censor or penalize clients of the state telecommunications monopoly, have kept access to the global web like a possibility surrounded by uncertainty and obstacles.

In two decades, most of those journalists who joined in the effort to move this medium forward emigrated. Those who remained on the ground had to, in numerous cases, assume pseudonyms to protect themselves and redouble precautions to avoid reprisals from the political police. From an ecosystem of independent publications based on the Island, we have compiled a short list with fewer exponents than there are fingers on a hand.

’14ymedio’ continues to be censored on national servers and it is a rare month in which we do not suffer the suspension of our mobile phone service

Now, the clock that marks the beginning of the day rings in our home at five in the morning. Email has long ceased to be our main way to find out what is happening inside and outside Cuba, the country that seemed asleep from social protests has experienced the historic popular demonstrations of 11 July 2021 and several important aftershocks. 14ymedio continues to be censored on national servers and it is a rare month in which we do not suffer the suspension of our mobile phone service on designated dates or due to some opposition call.

Ten years later, the reporter colleagues who search out, confirm and amplify on the streets the information we publish about this Island, the editors who are the main pillar of each content that comes out, together with this servant, we remain committed and enthusiastic about maintaining this open window to deep Cuba. Personally, I must add that I feel deep gratitude for being able to contribute, from the press, to the construction of a democratic and free society as the first step towards the inevitable political change.

Over the course of the next 10 years, I hope that the country will have achieved that objective and that 14ymedio will finally be accessible to all Cubans, without interference by the State in the citizens’ right to information.

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COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORKThe 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.

Haiti, Another Failure of Latin American Integration

The current situation in the small nation has revealed the limited effectiveness of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States and other regional alliances.

Haitians cannot continue to wait for summits and photos of presidents who smile in front of the cameras / EFE

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Yoani Sánchez, Havana, 31 March 2024 — Acronyms, meetings and official photos. International organizations seem more interested in demonstrating that they are operating through events and receptions than with actions or results. In Latin America it is a rare month in which there is not a summit, meeting or alliance that grabs the headlines and generates a new declaration signed by leaders and foreign ministers. However, where the effectiveness of these integration mechanisms is really measured is in reality, a level in which most lack tangible fruits.

The current situation in Haiti has revealed the limited effectiveness of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (Celac) and other regional alliances. Instead of accompanying and supporting the Haitian people in the difficult moment they are experiencing, the governments of this continent have chosen to look the other way or to dedicate themselves to distributing historical blame without managing to provide quick and practical help aimed at the population of a country ravaged by violence, the economic crisis and the collapse of political institutions.

Instead of accompanying and supporting the Haitian people in the difficult moment they are experiencing, the governments of this continent have chosen to look the other way

Celac and Latin American executives have failed Haitians because they have not even managed to protect them as refugees. On the dangerous route that crosses the Darién jungle and enters Central America and then crosses Mexican territory until reaching the southern border of the United States, nationals of the Caribbean country are among the migrants in the most vulnerable situation. Without speaking a word of Spanish, in many cases, lacking the resources to pay coyotes, and goaded by racism, they have become invisible beings that local administrations do not want to see, mention or support. continue reading

The lack of programs with residence facilities, access to work and coverage of basic services in many of the countries that make up the migratory journey of thousands of Haitians annually is striking. With more than 12 million inhabitants, the small island depends more and more on its diaspora and supporting these human beings in transit is also a way to save families who have been left waiting for their relatives to manage the trek, send them remittances and support them from the outside. The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) issued a series of recommendations for neighboring countries to guarantee these Haitians refuge and protection; but, as often happens, the exhortation has fallen on deaf ears.

In addition to specific facilities for these migrants, a joint response to the Haitian drama has been lacking in Latin America

In addition to specific facilities for these migrants, a joint response to the Haitian drama has been lacking in Latin America. The houses of Government are more focused on arguing among themselves over their ideological positions, creating a diplomatic fire based on the publications of a leader on the social network X, or making accusations against other governments, than in sitting down to agree on a plan of action.

During crises and humanitarian alerts, regional organizations are tested and those who represent us in this hemisphere have demonstrated their inability. Haitians can no longer wait for summits and photos of presidents smiling in front of the cameras. An aid program aimed at its injured population is urgently needed and must be as a whole as “the silver in the depth of the Andes.”*

*Translator’s note: The quote is from  José Martí’s 1891 essay “Nuestra America”: “The hour to muster and march in unison is upon us and our ranks must be as compact as the veins of silver in the depths of the Andes.”

Spending One’s Youth in Prison, the Cuban Regime’s Punishment for Filming a Protest

Before ending up in a dungeon, people prefer to hang up their ideological mask or emigrate to any country where peaceful protest is not so harshly penalized.

Most of the 13 Cubans prosecuted for the demonstrations in the Camagüey municipality Nuevitas were tried for the crime of sedition / Mayelín Rodríguez Prado/Facebook

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Yoani Sánchez, Generation Y, Havana, 30 April 2024 –She was 21 years old when she took her mobile phone and recorded part of the popular protests that shook the city of Nuevitas, in the Cuban province of Camagüey, in August 2022. Just a few days ago it was learned that a court sentenced her to 15 years in prison. If she serves that complete sentence, when she is released from prison, Mayelín Rodríguez Prado will be close to completing four decades of life. She will have spent the most precious moments of her existence behind bars. The time of studying for a university degree, of walking with her young friends, of being a mother or undertaking a professional project, will all be spent for her in a penitentiary.

Most of the 13 Cubans prosecuted for the demonstrations in that Camagüey municipality were tried for the crime of sedition, the legal figure that the Cuban regime also used against some of the protesters in the historic protests of 11 July 2021 (’11J’). In the case of Rodríguez Prado, his participation was limited to transmitting the events in Nuevitas through Facebook and collecting testimony from some girls who were beaten by uniformed troops after they detained several participants in the revolt.

For the summer that is upon us, the reasons that  led the residents of Nuevitas to take to the streets two years ago seem to be repeated

The severity of the sentences seeks to send an exemplary message to the rest of the Cuban population. The official plan is to warn every citizen that any demonstration of dissent in the streets will be harshly punished. In addition to the reduction in civic rights that this State policy entails, it brings with it two phenomena that, although secondary, are no less important: the extension of opportunism and the increase in exodus. Before ending up in a dungeon, people prefer to hang up their ideological mask or emigrate to any country where peaceful protest is not so harshly penalized. continue reading

It is also significant that these protesters have been tried for sedition. According to the Cuban Penal Code, it is a “crime against the internal security of the State” and is used against those who “riotously and through express or tacit concert, using violence, disturb the socialist order.” But, despite this explanation, it is impossible to separate the word from its military connotations, associating it with the mutiny or uprising carried out by troops recruited in a military framework. That evocation is not far from the reality of this Island.

For decades, the Communist Party of Cuba (PCC) has treated its citizens as part of a platoon, as simple troops in a barracks. For the authorities of this country, ordinary people must respond quickly and without hesitation to official calls, accept orders without question no matter how delirious they may seem, always be alert to fight the enemy in a battle that never comes, and swallow criticism without disobeying superiors. Even though we don’t wear uniforms, we are all treated like common soldiers. Any social insubordination will be judged as if it were a trial in a military court.

The effectiveness of this message of terror can only be proven over time. For the summer that is upon us, the reasons that  led the residents of Nuevitas to take to the streets two years ago seem to be repeated. The energy deficit increases as temperatures rise, the subsidized basic family basket suffers fluctuations in supplies and is barely enough to eat badly for a few days of the month. Social fatigue does not stop growing due to inflation, the devaluation of the Cuban peso and the evident inability of the PCC leadership to find solutions. The soldiers behave more like citizens every day: they complain loudly and believe that the streets belong to them.

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COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORKThe 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.

The Emigration of Its Militants Is a Blow to the Communist Party of Cuba

Party meetings, public events and morning workplace meetings have become a roll call to count those absent

The speed with which some Cubans change the PCC red card for residence in the ’yuma’ (US), never ceases to surprise / Cadeca

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Yoani Sánchez, Havana, 25 April 2024 — Even opportunism crumbles. Wearing the ideological mask in Cuba meant, for decades, obtaining revenues and benefits, but for some time now it seems to cost more than what it brings in. This morning I learned from a former official, linked to propaganda in the official media, that she is diligently waiting for her humanitarian parole to be approved to move to the United States. Instead of rejection or annoyance, the news has provoked congratulations among her former colleagues in the core of the Communist Party.

“You’re incredibly lucky, you’re leaving!” another militant, already retired and lacking anyone to claim him on the “other side of the pond,” told her with a touch of envy. According to what the future migrant has assured her friends, she will alternate her life between Miami and Havana, but everyone senses that it is a trip with no real return. “In a few years, for sure, she will publish on Facebook the photo with the flag of the little stars next to an image of the Statue of Liberty, after becoming nationalized,” predicts the pensioner.

Although the phenomenon has been quite common in recent years, the speed with which some Cubans exchange the PCC red card for residence in the Yuma is still surprising. With the same enthusiasm that, util recently, they used to get ready to participate in official events, they pack their suitcase and go to the airport. The speed with which they shed the skin of the simulator is causing a schism in the ranks of those who still say they support the system. continue reading

Party meetings, public events and the morning workplace meetings have become a roll call to count those absent and calculate how many more will emigrate. They look into each other’s eyes, weigh every word each other says, look for signs that they are waiting for a visa or a ticket. But the potential migrants do not give up. Trained in hiding their criticism of the regime and keeping quiet about any discrepancies, they guard their departure until the last minute.

From the plane window, up there, they will smile with relief. Down here, their cronies in the cause will also do the same. They know that with each acolyte who leaves, loyalty fades, masks crack, the system falls apart.

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COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORKThe 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.

Cubans ‘Eat Fear’ Again and Take to the Streets to Protest

One of the moments of the protest in Santiago de Cuba, this Sunday, March 17 / Facebook/Rompiendo Cadenas

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Yoani Sánchez, Havana, 18 March 2024 — When they woke up yesterday — Sunday — none of the Cubans who demonstrated this March 17 imagined that, a few hours later, they would be in the streets shouting Freedom! The morning passed between blackouts and difficulties finding food, but, by the afternoon, the indignation had escalated to a point that not even the fear of beatings, fines or prison could stop them. In the videos of the protests, they are seen behaving as a single organism in sync.

The popular demonstrations in Santiago de Cuba, El Cobre, Bayamo and Santa Marta show that social fatigue has been more powerful on this Island than the terror caused by the mass arrests and exemplary sentences after 11 July 2021. For the people who he chanted “Electricity and food!” in front of one of the headquarters of the Communist Party in the capital of Santiago, the fear of ending up in a dungeon or with a broken head was not stronger than their rejection of a system that has condemned them to a perpetual crisis.

Cubans took to the squares and streets fed up with a regime that they did not choose and that in more than six decades has shown its incompetence to provide them with a decent life

Cubans took to the squares and streets fed up with a regime that they did not choose and that in more than six decades has shown its incompetence to provide them with a decent life. They booed the officials who climbed onto the roofs to repeat, from above and at a distance from the people, the vain promises of an improvement in the energy supply and the meager ration of food in the rationed market. Protesters sang the national anthem in Bayamo to remember that the nation does not belong to a political group nor should it be the fiefdom of a failed ideology. continue reading

Homeland and Life! some exclaimed. We are hungry! others added. No to violence! warned the Bayamese when the Police stood in their way. As a civic body they acted, beat and behaved. As a single entity, moved by the disgust of being condemned to scarcity and lack of expectations, they demonstrated against a model imposed by force. The Cuban streets have spoken again and the message is loud and clear: this dictatorship has to end. Every day under this regime only brings us more poverty, exodus and repression .

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COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORKThe 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.

Romanticizing the Electricity Cuts in Cuba, More Than Cynical It Is Offensive

Romanticizing a blackout by alluding to the fact that the great classics of universal literature were written by candlelight, surpasses cynicism and becomes an offense / 14ymedio

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Yoani Sánchez, Generation Y, Havana — A ‘snort’ runs through the neighborhood. They have just cut off the electricity service and life is paralyzed until the power returns. The elevator does not work, the elderly residents of the upper floors wait on the ground floor of the building because arthritis and fatigue do not allow them to climb the stairs. The cafeteria on the corner closes to the public since the oven is electric and its main offering is pizzas. The pipes remain dry because the water pump could not complete the rise to the tank and, furthermore, “for two days there has been a break in the Palatino pipeline,” says a neighbor.

There is nothing romantic, beautiful or creative about blackouts. They are not, as official media assures, the opportunity to prepare a candlelit dinner for a couple,  to get away from the mobile screen or read a book. Not having power is something much more mundane, irritating and limiting. Bedridden patients are flooded with sweat because the fans no longer work; the little milk that the family saves for the baby spoils due to the lack of refrigeration; the poor young man who earns his living as a bicycle messenger loses his little income. because the shipping application stops working after the telecommunications towers are turned off. continue reading

Now, they claim that darkness can return us to a calmer and more natural life, when in reality it makes our existence more distressing

With the blackout, people become more aggressive and in the silence left by the engines and devices, domestic fights, swearing and insults emerge more strongly. With the power outage, private businesses are sinking, the dangers of accidents with disconnected traffic lights multiply, night outings are reduced even more, plans are postponed and the idea of ​​packing suitcases gains strength. Weddings are also postponed, schools further reduce the quality of their teaching and bureaucratic procedures become much more complicated.

Romanticizing a blackout, alluding to the fact that the great classics of universal literature were written by candlelight surpasses cynicism and becomes an offense. Just like when, during the Special Period, some leaders of the Communist Party praised the flavor that cooking with firewood left in food, due to the absence of gas. But, while they evoked the charcoal that leaves a smoky touch on food, we burned our grandparents’ furniture so we could eat. Now, they claim that darkness can return us to a calmer and more natural life, when in reality it makes our existence more distressing.

No, there is nothing beautiful about a blackout, especially when you have suffered them for a good part of your life and you cannot see, in the short or medium term, that they will stop breaking into our daily lives.
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COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORKThe 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.

The Cuban ‘Paquetazo’ Moves to the Rhythm of Russian Demands

It does not seem a coincidence that, after the postponement of the start of the ‘package’, we had the visit of the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov / Russian Foreign Ministry

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Yoani Sánchez, Generation Y, Havana, 29 February 2024 — Lavrov, Patrushev and Titov. We Cubans get lost among so many surnames of high-ranking Russian officials who arrive in Cuba. The procession, which has grown in number and frequency in recent months, coincides with official announcements of economic measures. It is very difficult to remove the Kremlin from the national equation when Vladimir Putin’s envoys arrive on the island and, shortly after, tariff adjustments are published in the Official Gazette or new prices are made effective at gas stations and electricity bills.

This Thursday, the head of the Russia-Cuba Business Council, Boris Titov, arrives in Havana, and will stay on the Island until March 7. A long visit that, in advance, has all the traces of a review, of a meticulous inspection to verify where the vague promises that Cuban officials must have made to the ears of the Russians, to extract investments and support, have played out. A dance of seduction that has worked with others but is now being performed before “clients” who know very well the false tricks of Castroism.

It does not seem a coincidence that after the postponement of the start of the paquetazo*, which raised the prices of fuel and electricity, we had the visit of the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, and, later, the secretary of the Russian Security Council, Nikolai Patrushev. Both in the second half of February, the month initially chosen to begin measures that will make life on the Island more expensive and generate great social unrest. After his departure, the application of the new prices to take effect on March 1 has finally been announced. continue reading

It seems that Miguel Díaz-Canel has been showered with scoldings from Moscow. For Putin, it is not enough to agree, we must comply. His men have come to demand accountability in Havana and the clumsy officials of the Cuban Communist Party have only managed to do what they know best. Initially they have chosen to stretch the times and negotiate new deadlines, only to end up giving in to the powerful patron of the day.

It seems that Miguel Díaz-Canel has been showered with scoldings from Moscow. For Putin, it is not enough to agree, we must comply.

In front of the eyes of the citizens, the Russians seem to be sneaking into every crevice of national life. The intergovernmental commission led by Titov examines and makes agreements in areas as diverse as the economic, financial, energy, transportation, agriculture, communications, health, education and tourism. Even though not recognized by either regime, the presence of Cuban mercenaries fighting for the Russian side in the invasion of Ukraine also makes the link between Castroism and Putinism closer.

The official press of the Island has adopted the script that the Kremlin imposes on its national media. Both there and here, Russian defeats on the battlefield are not published, Volodymyr Zelensky’s name must always be accompanied by the worst adjectives, and the invasion is only a “special operation” for the Russian homeland to recover what belongs to it, what was once taken from it. Every day, the publications of Sputnik and Granma become more similar. There are hardly any differences between RIA Nóvosti and Prensa Latina when it comes to news about Europe and the United States.

Both regimes have been synchronizing speeches in recent years, aligning their political narrative at various points and strengthening ties, some visible and others under the cloak of secrecy. But Cuba is a small country, an island with hardly any natural resources and an economy destroyed by inefficiency and mismanagement. Getting too close to Moscow’s voracity is a very dangerous move because Russia asks its allies for much more than handshakes and formal visits.

Within this obedient delivery is the act of serving as a springboard for disinformation campaigns and acting as a bridge with Latin America so that Putin can wash his image and undermine solidarity with Kiev. The Kremlin does not give support without asking for anything in return and these are times of direct requests and excessive demands.

When Moscow lands it does so with everything. Sometimes destroying the treads of their tanks, other times crushing with their misinformation and adjustments.

*Translator’s note: ‘Paquete’ means ‘package’, while the ‘azo’ added to the end implies a ‘forceful blow’.

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COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORKThe 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.

‘Do Not Give Up’: The Message From Navalny We All Must Hear

Frame from the HBO Max documentary ‘Navalny’ directed by Daniel Roher. (Capture)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Yoani Sánchez, Havana, 17 February 2024 — Yesterday, Friday, was a difficult day. The sun had not yet risen in Havana when I learned of the death in prison of the Russian opponent Alexei Navalny. That news immediately led me to reflect on the fragility of Cuban political prisoners, some confined to punishment cells, far from any contact with their families and at the mercy of a system for which the life of a dissident is worth nothing.

Vladimir Putin had confined Navalny in a cold prison in the Arctic Circle. He was so afraid of the 47-year-old lawyer that he tried to bury him in life away from Moscow, the Russian streets and his colleagues in the fight against corruption. Autocrats are like that, they can sign for the transfer of a political opponent to the most remote dungeon rather than face him at the polls. Cowards are known by their actions and the tenant of the Kremlin is just that: a fear-filled person with power.

In the Cuban streets, no one has bought the version of the sudden death, the result, supposedly, of a blood clot

It was already afternoon, when I had read the international reactions and thought, countless times, about Navalny’s wife and children, I looked out the window to see the obscene silhouette of the Russian Embassy in the Cuban capital, its demeanor defiant and aggressive. If in other parts of the world the surroundings of Moscow’s bases of operation were, and will be, in the coming days, the center of protests, demands and cries of “Assasins!”, in Havana none of that will happen. continue reading

Cubans will not go en masse to the crude pile on 5th Avenue, at the least to light some candles for the activist and blogger who challenged the corrupt circle of Russian power. They will not do it, not because they do not feel his death, but because the Havana regime is not going to allow it. Allied and dependent on the former KGB official, the Police of this Island will not accept any gesture that upsets the Kremlin. The official media took long hours to publish a note about Navalny’s death. Neglecting him, even after he died, was another way to ingratiate itself with Putin.

However, on the Cuban streets no one has bought the version of sudden death, presumably the result of a blood clot. “They killed him,” a neighbor told me as soon as she greeted me. “Why did he return to Russia if he knew they were going to assassinate him?” Questioned a friend who had followed Navalny’s journey since he opened a digital blog and began to expose the rot of Putinism . “What is the West going to do now?” He stressed.

“Not giving up,” the Russian opponent thus summarized his legacy in a biographical audiovisual that shortly after would win the Oscar for best documentary.

It is true that he could have gone into exile, he even had a great opportunity to stay in Berlin after the assassination attempt he suffered in 2020. The doors were open for him to settle in a capital of a democratic country, give lectures at universities and help activists in his country in many other ways. But I sense that Navalny knew that if he did that, he would stop being, in a certain way, himself. The exile killed part of the politician. Living in another nation was not what he planned for his life. For the short life he ended up having.

“Do not give up,” that was the message that Alexei Navalny left for his Russian compatriots in case he was assassinated. Emaciated by the health problems caused by the poisoning, the Russian opponent thus summarized his legacy in a biographical audiovisual that shortly after would win the Oscar for best documentary. In front of the camera, he is seen repeating the phrase, once in English, once in Russian. By the time he speaks in his language he is transformed. His eyes become sparkling, the deep grooves left by the long recovery look deeper. He takes a breath, joins his hands and releases the words with a conviction that shocks. Navalny is speaking to us, and he knows what awaits him.

Unfortunately he was not wrong in his prediction. I hope that he was not wrong either in calling on Russians not to accept that Vladimir Putin gets his way.

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COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORKThe 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.

Cuban President Diaz-Canel Had To Go to Cauto Cristo to ‘Bathe in the People’

In the images, the Cuban president rushes to shake hands, always surrounded by a strict circle of security. (Screen capture)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Yoani Sánchez, Generation Y, Havana, 12 February 2024 — He narrows his eyes, jumps and puts his hands on his chest. He is not in the middle of a mystical ritual but in front of the television cameras that report the visit of Miguel Díaz-Canel to Cauto Cristo, in the province of Granma. “It was as if I had seen the god Fidel,” “I have goose bumps,” exclaimed the lady in a trance. She is followed by another who insists that the arrival of the first secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba is “a gift” from God and “a blessing” for a municipality forgotten by officials and the national media.

In the images, the Cuban leader is quick to shake hands, always surrounded by a strict security circle, to hug children and to point out that he is on the street at a time when his popularity is measured in very negative numbers, although without reliable surveys that put a figure on disapproval. Díaz-Canel has gone there, to convince the poor residents that with “popular participation” they can seek the solutions that Cubans so urgently need, he is seen saying in a video.

“Díaz-Canel, we adore you, son, we adore you!” shouts an enthusiast as the procession passes by to complete the mysticism of the moment

“Díaz-Canel, we adore you, son, we adore you!” shouts an enthusiast as the procession passes by to complete the mysticism of the moment. Each frame seems calculated, an altarpiece prepared for veneration, never for criticism. The seams cannot be seen: each testimony, location or statement must exude devotion and blind faith. There is no room for doubt because we have gone from idolatry calculated from above to the coarsest fanaticism. It is not even about pretending that it is real, just about displaying it even if the performance is absolutely grotesque. continue reading

When the dust from the tires of the official caravan is just a memory, daily miseries will continue to mark everyday life in Cauto Cristo. The “goose bumps” lady will complain in a sour tone that the rice did not arrive at the rationed market on time, the other fervent follower will say that this happens because “the president is not informed” and the young woman who strings together words with the speed of a machine gun will already be arranging her departure from the country through someone she knows in Miami.

Dressed in the suit of a supposed redeemer, only the nails of popular demand await Díaz-Canel. In a few days there will be no half-closed eyes or hands raised to the heart in Cauto Cristo. Instead of praise, insults and mockery will be heard in the streets of the Granma town, especially that harsh adjective* with which the president, whom no one elected at the polls, will go down in the history of this Island, but that no official media dares to utter. When they pronounce the six letters of that harsh adjective, they will not do so in a tone of exaltation but of disgust… almost certainly.

*Translator’s note: Yoani does not identify an adjective, but “Diaz-Canel singao” is a common graffiti in Cuba. Singao is commonly translated as ‘motherfucker’ or similar expletives.

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COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORKThe 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.