14ymedio, Natalia López Moya, Havana, 9 December 2021 — The protests of July and the call for the Civic March on 15N (15 November) have made the Cuban regime nervous. It is enough for a group of activists to propose a demonstration for officialdom to redouble the police presence, stage a fair in the place and mobilize dozens of members of the State Security. If, in addition, the event is planned for Human Rights Day, the unease of the Government multiplies.
A day in advance, from this Thursday several Havana parks have been taken over by students who do not understand very well what they are commemorating. In the squares you can see improvised tents with food stalls and revolutionary music at full volume. The calculated event will last until December 10 to cover any possible act of civic vindication.
“The teacher told us that today and tomorrow we had to counteract the possible marches in the parks,” says Joan, a student who is in the eighth grade at a basic high school in Centro Habana. “They gave us an early dismissal so we could attend the activities.”
Although at first the teacher explained to Joan and his classmates that they were going to carry out “exploration and camping activities, as they do on camping trips”, what Joan and his classmates found in La Normal park, in Manglar Street, was “a tent and music recorded at full volume.”
“They were also setting up an improvised stage where someone will surely play later,” explained the 14-year-old, who also noted the insistence from the directors of his school that the students remain in the park. “We started to play soccer and those of us who had a mobile phone connected to the Wi-Fi network, until I got tired and snuck home.”
The same scene is repeated in other parks in the capital, where a strong presence of young people dressed in the school uniforms of various levels can be observed. “There is a circus in Trillo Park today,” an elderly resident of Centro Habana told 14ymedio. “They tell me that in Central Park and the one in front of the Design Institute, there have also been tents since yesterday with sales of bread and other products that have been missing, plus the characteristic show with revolutionary background music,” he said.
In 1998, a similar mobilization of high school students and members of the Union of Young Communists congregating in Butari Park, in the Havana neighborhood of Lawton, ended with them attacking several activists who had chosen the place for a peaceful demonstration during the day for Human Rights.
The incident included blows against the cameras of the foreign press, one of which was significantly damaged. One of the correspondents’ microphones was stolen by the mob and several dissidents were detained in the days before and during December 10 itself. After that the opposition figure Óscar Elías Biscet launched a call to march in that square
COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORK: The 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.