14ymedio/Yucabyte, Havana , 22 “Why do memes harm the Revolution?” The question, written on the blackboard of a Cuban school, gives the measure of the regime’s suspicion towards the rumors that circulate on social networks, whose common factor is the deterioration of life on the Island and the upsurge in violence. 14ymedio and Yucabyte confirmed this in October, when numerous users questioned the celebration of a luxurious White Dinner, while complaints about drug use, deaths due to medical negligence and shortages proliferated.
The alleged death of a pregnant woman, while giving birth at home, shocked Cubans. The episode, of which no details were known, sparked a debate about the institutional situation of the island’s maternity hospitals, the precarious conditions in which pregnant women are maintained, and an alleged regulation that requires “allocating resources to patients with the greatest hope of life.”
In this sense, several users claimed to know of other cases in which the patient was left to die – “by order of the Ministry of Public Health” – to reuse or resell the supplies to the highest bidder. This crisis also has a correlation in pharmacies, which are short of supplies unless the interested party disburses the correct amount directly to the apothecary. In the informal market, on the other hand, state-made medicines – in addition to foreign ones – are available at outrageous prices.
A group of users has detected an increase in drug consumption and has transmitted images of people supposedly in crisis due to an overdose
A group of users has detected an increase in drug consumption and has transmitted images of people supposedly in crisis due to an overdose. This was the case of a young man who was recorded while convulsing, and although the cause of his attack is not clear, numerous commentators suggested that he had been intoxicated with fentanyl, although it was also attributed to cocaine or a synthetic drug that in Cuba is known simply as the “chemist.”
The fact that the Public Health crisis has gotten out of control has been the cause – according to various rumors and testimonies collected by the independent press – of hundreds of professionals choosing to abandon the sector. During the month, a call for a general strike by doctors and pharmacists circulated on several platforms, which in theory would be supported by the Free Cuban Medical Guild, an organization of exiled health workers.
The long blackouts and the stories of those who suffer them on the Island make up a very large group of rumors. Those who bear the brunt are the residents in the rural areas of the central and eastern provinces, who have denounced time and again that the “energy contingency” decreed by the Government is in no way temporary. Blackouts lasting between six and twelve hours are here to stay, say the less optimistic, and there is no “technical explanation” that justifies the power cuts. This month, several users described as “physical torture” the impossibility of cooking, turning on lights at night, or having means to scare away mosquitoes both in the fields and in the cities of the Island.
The crisis has reached such a climate of tension that numerous rumors speculate about an alleged “escape plan” for the Castros
The crisis has reached such a climate of tension that numerous rumors speculate about an alleged “escape plan” for the Castros and other families at the top of the regime. According to statements attributed to a former high-ranking military official, there is an airport in Cayo Largo del Sur with several helicopters and planes that will transport the family to Canada, whose Government will offer passports for their resettlement in Europe. They will travel on Sunwing airlines, says the rumor, which also alludes to other alternative plans to leave the country when the regime falls.
However, there do not seem to be any signs of emergency signs at the highest levels, quite the opposite. The celebration – with the consent and participation of the regime – of the White Dinner, an international event with logistical demands that Cuba, users insist, could not afford in the midst of the current crisis. The assumption that the event was managed by Miguel Díaz-Canel’s wife, Lis Cuesta, has made her the target of numerous criticisms.
Judging by the criticism of the expensive and extravagant life of Cuesta and other members of the ruling clans, often in a joking tone, the question on the blackboard in the primary classroom has an affirmative answer: memes do “harm” the regime, and a great deal.
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