A Dozen Residents of Central Havana Protest the Lack of Electricity and Water

This Monday, one of the State Security motorcycles remained in the area as a warning, as this newspaper was able to verify. (14ymedio)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Juan Diego Rodríguez, Havana, July 24, 2023 — The presence of a State Security motorcycle was the only trace this Monday morning of the protest that took place on Sunday night in Belascoaín and San Lázaro, in Centro Habana .

A dozen people managed to interrupt traffic by sitting across the street until two policemen showed up in the area and talked with los plantados, a gesture that has circulated through the social networks of a multitude of Cuban activists after the rapper Eliexer Márquez El Funky broadcast a video in which the brief demand is filmed.

The musician shared the images on his Facebook profile and asked the residents of the area for confirmation of the facts. Some of them fact-checked but the reason for the protest remains unclear.

“They don’t let anyone through, they say they have been without power for more than three days,” said El Funky, while a resident in the area replied that the problem is even greater. “It’s been 10 days and nothing and no one solves the problem for us. The food is spoiling; the children barely sleep at night. The refrigerators don’t work. The Electric Company comes and, supposedly, fixes the problem. It only lasts 20 minutes that the electricity starts again. Enough, we are not sheep, just hard-working human beings and we need to live as people,” replied one user.

According to other comments, the lack of running water was the demand of those who protested last night. “I just passed by and there are a million police patrol cars from the dictatorship and patrol motorcycles, everything seems to indicate that they dissolved the small protest for water,” said another commentator. The controversy grew in the rapper’s publication among those who criticized the magnitude of the ’sit-in’.

“If everyone is dealing with this shit, why don’t they all come out? Why are there always 10 or 20? Shit, everyone come out!” lamented one of the many who called for Cubans to unite to face the painful circumstances caused by the Government’s ineptitude .

This Monday, one of the State Security motorcycles remained in the area as a warning, as 14ymedio was able to verifyThe neighbors, however, were reluctant to comment on what had happened, but they did affirm that light has not been lacking on that particular corner recently and this morning several of the houses located in the area had their light bulbs on.

The place of the protest, located in the neighborhood of San Leopoldo, is one of the most densely populated areas of the Cuban capital. Without the historical appeal of Old Havana or the glamor of El Vedado, the municipality of Centro Habana has been passed by in investments and improvements to its infrastructure.

In San Leopoldo, a strip adjacent to the Havana malecón, problems in the water supply have been dragging on for decades but have worsened over the years. Meanwhile, the problems multiply: the deterioration caused to the hydraulic network from the proximity to the sea; the continuous coastal flooding derived from the hurricanes; and the population growth of the neighborhood.

Last weekend, the Minister of Energy and Mines, Vicente de la O Levy, celebrated in one of the parliamentary sessions that the energy situation this summer is better than the previous one. The official stated that “the effects” in the first week of July 2022 amounted to 35,934 Mw/h, compared to 1,290 Mw/h in the same period this year, 96% less. “The second week of this month of July is also much better than the previous one,” he assured.

In addition, the minister took the opportunity to tell that two Turkish floating power plants have left the Island this year, when the contract expired. One of them, Irem Sultan, left Cuba in April, just a few weeks after arriving in Santiago de Cuba, where iy had allegedly been assigned to minimize the energy deficit that severely affected central and eastern Cuba in the first four months of the year.

Despite the improvement revealed by the authorities, the problems with electricity remain constant. Last week, Stephany Novo Castro, from Havana, denounced that a cable failure had lept her home, in Los Silos, Centro Habana, without power for at least six days.


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