Cuban Residents of Bauta, Jaguey Grande and Covadonga Protest in the Streets Against the Long Blackouts

Three protests over power outages occurred on July 30 in different provinces of Cuba. (Collage)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 31 July 2022 — At least three protests, in different provinces of the country, took place on Saturday night demanding the restoration of electricity service. The suburb, La Minina de Bauta, Artemisa; the community of Central Australia, in Jagüey Grande, Matanzas; and the Covadonga neighborhood in the municipality of Aguada de Pasajeros in Cienfuegos were the scenes of these popular demonstrations.

The protests at the Central Australia People’s Council, in Jagüey Grande in the province of Matanzas, are the second in less than a month to take place in that community. On this occasion, also after suffering a long blackout of more than ten hours, hundreds of residents took to the streets banging their pots and pans and shouting “Freedom!” and “Turn on the current, pricks!” This last one was first launched by students at the University of Camagüey last June.

In several videos that have been disseminated through social networks, protesters are seen walking the streets in the dark, some illuminated by the light of their mobile phones. From inside several houses there were also cries of support, and several neighbors managed to broadcast live during the demonstration.

In Bauta, the scenes were similar. In the La Minina neighborhood of that municipality in the province of Artemisa, residents went out banging their pots and pans in the street in the middle of a long blackout. To the cry of “Turn on the power!” these neighbors also demanded the restoration of electricity.

A very similar protest also occurred in the neighborhood of Covadonga in the municipality of Aguada de Pasajeros, Cienfuegos. Immersed in darkness, neighbors protested in the streets of this community, which this Saturday also suffered a power outage of several hours. Several reports from the place say that in the middle of the demonstrations they broke the stained glass windows of a store that only takes payment in freely convertible currency [foreign currency] and took part of the products for sale.

This type of business has been the target of popular indignation in several demonstrations, and in the protests of July 11, 2022, several of these establishments were stoned and their goods looted. Since the sale of food and toiletries in foreign currency was inaugurated, this commercial network has had to deal with criticism, even among those who support the system.

So far, no official source has spoken out about these protests, although several netizens reported the arrival of several police officers when the demonstration was over. The uniformed men asked about the possible participants in the protests and, especially, about who had “lit the fire.”

The Government continues to ask for patience in the face of the problem of lack of electricity, which reaches unusual levels. The population is aware that there is no short-term solution, since the authorities themselves have said so, insisting that, at a minimum, the burden be shared equally among everyone.

Last week it was announced that power cuts will also begin to be implemented in Havana, a city that until now had benefited from the privilege of having fewer blackouts than other areas of the country.

Translated by Regina Anavy

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