Layers of Paint and Hype in Sancti Spíritus, Cuba to Celebrate July 26th

The residents, meanwhile, only hope that the city buildings will benefit from the paraphernalia of the event.

Newly painted pharmacy in Sancti Spíritus due to the events of July 26 / 14ymedio

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Mercedes Garcia, Sancti Spíritus, 4 July 2024 — Even in the midst of the most painful crisis that the Revolution has faced, the Cuban regime insists on remembering its “rebellious lineage” every year by granting one province primacy in the events for July 26. Since last June 14, Sancti Spíritus has held the headquarters, an “acknowledgement” that Cubans see more as an opportunity to renovate the city than to honor the assailants of the Moncada barracks.

The authorities “put their foot down” – as Ramiro Valdés recommended in the province days ago – and, since the announcement that the central event of the anniversary will take place in Sancti Spiritus, the problems seem to have disappeared. 100% of its taxpayers paid their taxes in 2023, infant mortality in the first half of this year is – suspiciously – the second lowest in the country, and Construction, one of the worst sectors on the Island, advances thanks to mini-industries.

That is, at least, the Sancti Spíritus that the official press is selling, decked out to receive senior government officials and, with luck, Raúl Castro himself.

The entrance road to the province was also paved / Escambray

From the interior of its streets, however, a different reality is felt. The 10 kilometers of asphalt that were dedicated to repairing the province’s roads are all focused on a single section: the road that connects the municipality of Cabaiguán and the capital city, and that also connects with the National Highway. That is, a brand-new tar carpet through which the ministers and officials will enter the city for the event.

The same has happened with the facades of state restaurants, such as Dinos Pizza, to which they added umbrellas and seats in the doorway, but inside, the bottles on display are empty and the prices do not drop below 200 pesos.

They added chairs and umbrellas to Dinos Pizza, but the rest remains the same / 14ymedio

Other “beneficiaries” of state paraphernalia have been pharmacies and bodegas (the ration stores). Those closest to the center and, of course, to the routes that the officials will take, boast blue, pink and red colors on their facades that still smell of fresh paint. The leaks from the interior and the shortage of products, however, have not changed. “Paint, a lot of paint. But no supplies,” a resident of Garaita, one of the “retouched” establishments, complained to 14ymedio.

Many state establishments, some of them on the boulevard, remain closed to preserve the touches until the 26th, when their doors will open with offers of food and entertainment that the people of Sancti Spiritus have not had at their disposal for a long time, and which is doubtful will be kept after the festivities.

Some grocery stores have their facades painted again, but they are still without food / 14ymedio

The local press has also not been shy about granting a certain “joy” to the “people of Sancti Spiritus,” alleging that the Central Committee of the Party has granted a great “honor” to the province for “the work that its cadres, management structures, workers and people in general, as an expression of the popular will to move the country forward in the midst of a particularly complex economic situation.”

Many leisure and gastronomy venues remain closed / 14ymedio

To commemorate the distinction, on the same day of the announcement, local leaders celebrated the event with the people of Sancti Spiritus, who “spontaneously” carried drums and Cuban flags.

For the Sancti Spíritus residents, however, being the venue for the July 26 events is only equivalent to avoiding blackouts for a few days or finally seeing public transportation working. For the rest, the arrangements seem few and superficial compared to those obtained by other provinces in previous years.

Translated by Norma Whiting


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