Cuban Regime Resurrects the Workers’ Guards to Protect Workplaces

This type of surveillance involved the employees of the 128 entities of the Cimex corporation in Santiago de Cuba, according to the official press. (Trabajadores)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 19 July 2021 — The Cuban regime is calling on state employees to guard of workplaces after the July 11 protests. In Santiago de Cuba they began with stores in freely convertible currency (MLC), Trabajdores published this Sunday, detailing that the guarding includes “interior and exterior spaces.”

According to the official gazette, which did not specify whether the guards were voluntary, their objective is to “respond to any destabilizing attempt,” to any “action that alters the tranquility of the country” or attempts to “take what by right of conquest belongs to the revolutionary people.”

At the La Plaza store, one of the main foreign exchange businesses in Santiago, according to its director Ninfa María Ríos, guarding the place “puts demands on several colleagues” because the establishment “occupies a large area.”

“The planning we have done allows them to rest the next day, but many have expressed their willingness to continue working if necessary,” says Ríos.

The La Plaza collective was joined by the other employees of the 128 entities of the Cimex corporation, one of the business arms of the Cuban military, and also the workers of the Port of Santiago de Cuba, Trabajadores said.

The task of serving as guards on the island have always been repudiated by many workers, who after a working week must return “voluntarily” to their workplace and are not paid for the time they remain in the institution. If they refuse, they may receive retaliation and administrative reprimands. In the eleventh Congress of the Cuban Workers Central (CTC), an official organization that groups together the different unions, it was established that the workers’ guard has, among other tasks, to raise “the sense of belonging among the workers.”

On the other hand, the ex-spy Gerardo Hernández Nordelo, national coordinator of the Committee for the Defense of the Revolution (CDR), together with the first secretary of the Communist Party in Havana, Luis Antonio Tórres Iríbar, championed this Sunday the “first Popular Revolutionary Surveillance Detachment,” published the official press.

The Detachment was established precisely in the La Güinera neighborhood, in the municipality of Arroyo Naranjo, where the Government recognized the first deceased during the protests in recent days. The demonstration in that area, one of the most depressed in Havana, was broadcast in several videos through social networks, despite the fact that the Government kept the Internet connection cut off for several days.

“Alert that La Güinera has risen up, in support of the Revolution, Díaz-Canel and the Party,” Nordelo wrote on his Twitter account when he published photos of his visit to La Güinera, but neither the State Security official nor the state press clarified the objective of the Detachment.

Just a few hours after the massive protests on July 11, 14ymedio reported large mobilizations in workplaces to activate the “rapid response brigades.” Simultaneously, the recruitment of young Cubans of military age and the mobilization of reservists increased.

However, the rejection of the regime’s orders to repress has become apparent in recent days. This newspaper was able to confirm that when an employee of a state textile company refused to take part in actions against the protesters, her own colleagues organized an act of repudiation in support of her and she was immediately fired.

Various sectors of society have not only denounced the wave of violence unleashed by the political police against the protesters, they have also opposed participating in official calls in support of the regime. This happened with students from various university faculties, who, in addition to rejecting their participation in official meetings, expressed their disagreement with the repression and censorship of the independent press.

The first were those from the Faculty of Biology of the University of Havana, who called for “peaceful understanding, respect for individual freedoms and non-violence as a way” to solve problems. They were joined by students from the Audiovisual Media Art Faculty and the international group from the San Antonio de los Baños Film School, which condemned the “reprisals for publicly expressing their ideas.”


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