14ymedio, Juan Diego Rodríguez, Havana, 25 July 2022 — On the eve of July 26, the date of the celebration of the Cuba regime, and with an atmosphere full of protests over the long blackouts in the country, the streets of Havana woke up this Monday guarded by the Special National Brigade of the Ministry of the Interior known as the black berets.
The people of the capital have noticed an unusual operation of this repressive force mainly in highly populated municipalities such as Central Havana and Old Havana, while the country experiences three holidays from today until the 27th for the celebrations of the Day of National Rebellion (July 26), on the 69th anniversary of the assault on the Moncada barracks in Santiago de Cuba.
Among the most guarded areas are the vicinity of the Ministry of Energy and Mines, on Carlos III, between Oquendo and Soledad. It’s a strategic installation in these times of blackouts throughout the country, scheduled by the Electrical Union, which depends on this ministry. One of the offices of this state company in the province of Mayabeque was partially set on fire by protesters, who filmed the event late at night.
On another corner of Carlos III, between Soledad and Castillejo, very close to the ministry itself, a truck of the Special Brigade was guarded by several agents. The vehicle, with the number 1532, serves to transport the military, as was recorded during the days after the protests of July 2021, when the regime deployed its repressive arsenal and mobilized caravans in several cities.
In this area there is also Plaza Carlos III, one of the largest shopping centers in Havana, popularly known as “the palace of consumption.” For several years it has been the commercial lung of Central Havana, especially in the neighborhoods of Pueblo Nuevo, Cayo Hueso and Los Sitios. Both in this establishment and in other state centers you can also see the operational guards of police, other special forces and State Security officers dressed in civilian clothes.
But the ones who have attracted the most attention in the last few hours are the black berets, with their black uniforms and their inquisitive looks, as they observe the atmosphere in central areas of the capital and even walk with dogs guarding streets and busy squares such as Fraternity Park. Some residents report to this newspaper that when they approach this brigade, they prefer not to be using their cell phone because even that action provokes suspicion among the military.
Because of the violence unleashed by the regime during the arrest and imprisonment of the demonstrators on July 11, 2021, the black berets together with the minister of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Cuba, Álvaro López-Miera, are considered responsible for “serious human rights abuses.”
Translated by Regina Anavy
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