14ymedio, Havana, 22 July 2022 — Electrical power blackouts led to at least two protests in Cuba during the early morning hours of Friday: one in Jagüey Grande, a town in Matanzas province, and the other in Caibarién, in Villa Clara province.
According to accounts posted on social media, protestors also demonstrated by banging pots in Caibarién’s Lili de Sagua la Grande neighborhood. A similar event is reported to have taken place in Morón, a town in Ciega de Avila province, though no photographs were available of either demonstration.
However, multiple videos of the protest in Jagüey Grande show dozens of people, dimly lit by cell phones, marching through streets to chants of “freedom” and “turn on the power,” with some also shouting “everyone into the streets.”
“Look at this neighborhood. It’s abusive,” someone can be heard saying amid the din of shouts and pot banging.
Two protests were reported in Villa Clara. Though there are no photos documenting the one in Sagua la Grande, some posts claim power was restored a few minutes after the start of the demonstration.
— 14ymedio (@14ymedio) July 22, 2022
An electrical power shortage led to at least two early morning protests in Cuba on Friday.
Power was also restored in Caibarién after protestors could clearly be heard shouting “turn on the power,” a slogan that has become popular since students at the University of Camagüey adopted it during protests on June 14.
There has been a constant stream of comments on social media since photos of these protests began circulating. Another protest took place in Pinar del Rio just a week ago. All the demonstrations have been peaceful, made up mainly of people banging metal pots, and quite large relative to the limited size of the towns in which they occurred.
Though some social media posts have called for Cubans to storm hard-currency stores, hotels and even government installations, like protestors in Sri Lanka did, most have urged demonstrators to be cautious, march peacefully and document their actions on cell phone videos so no one can accuse them of violence.
So far, there has been no official response to the protests other than a statement regarding the events in Palacios that said the people have a right to express their discontent and that critics in Miami have exaggerated the scope of the demonstrations.
The government continues to ask for patience as it deals with an unusually bad electricity shortage. The public is aware there is no short-term solution — officials themselves have said so — but is demanding the burden at least be shared equitably.
Cubans are aware that, though the capital is experiencing outages and blackouts, the provinces are suffering even longer periods without power, a situation which is becoming increasingly obvious. What is not known is how officials will find a way to mollify a population experiencing so many plagues — heat, hunger, dengue fever and covid, all at the same time — and with so little left to lose.
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