And the Streets of Cuba Spoke Loud and Clear

Protesters in Santiago de Cuba, this July 11. (14ymedio)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Yoani Sánchez, Havana, 12 July 2021 – It was only a question of time. The frustration and desperation had been accumulating and this Sunday the streets exploded. Thousands of Cubans left their homes to exercise the right to civic protest, the one that had been seized from them for more than half a century. With their cries of “Down with the dictatorship” they made it clear that neither the indoctrination nor the fear have managed to curtail the desire for freedom on this island.

Young people came out, those who had grown up with the dual currency, the lact of dreams, the blackouts and the brainwashing in the schools. Housewives came out, pots and pans in hand to at least bang on some cookware in which there is hardly anything to serve. Parents of families and their grandchildren came out; the first part of a generation that helped to construct the current authoritarian model, and the second, potential rafters in the Straits of Florida. The people came out.

Unprecedented and beautiful scenes all over the country, as if the spark of San Antonio de los Baños had ignited in the dry grass of social anger. Havana’s Capitol rocked with the cries of “freedom,” the streets of Cárdenas with a human cordon that challenged the shock troops, Palma Soriano shaken by the demonstrations, Alquízar exploding into its unpaved alleys and Camagüey with a human river in its squares.

This July 11 we demonstrate to the world and ourselves that we are many more than those who crush us, that when we unite and act they can only threaten us, imprison us or kill us but they cannot convince us to continue accepting the yoke. Now, officialdom will offer its version of events and blame the neighbor to the North, but we all know that spontaneity and massiveness were the distinctive sign of these protests.

You could see it coming, you just had to have your ear attentive to reality to notice the internal noise that was growing, and that yesterday shook off the gag.

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