‘Provacateurs’ Are Taking Advantage of Cubans’ Unrest Over Blackouts, Charges State TV’s Round Table Program

The situation is such that blackouts have been scheduled even in Havana. / EFE

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Madrid, 19 March 2024 — At 3:54 in the afternoon this Monday, the Antonio Guiteras thermoelectric plant was synchronized with the National Electric System and, if all goes well, in the next few hours it will be able to contribute 280 megawatts (MW), said the Minister of Energy and Minas, Vicente de la O Levy. Added to this will be the arrival of a ship with fuel in the middle of the week that will allow generating capacity to be increased. But, as the saying goes, joy is short-lived in a poor man’s home and, in the best of cases, Cubans will be able to feel the relief for just two weeks, as noted on State TV’s Round Table program last night.

On officialdom’s TV program yesterday, host Randy Alonso brought together three other journalists notable for their loyalty to the Government – ​​Arleen Rodríguez Derivet, Oliver Zamora and Bárbara Betancourt – to analyze the protests of recent days in various areas of the country, with populations in Santiago de Cuba , Granma and Matanzas in the lead.

Alonso’s focus was clear in the title of the episode — The United States, the Miami mafia and the anti-Cuban campaigns — and conveyed the official line of what happened: the population is tired of the blackouts caused by the US blockade and comes out to complain peacefully, although people in Florida sought to instigate “an attempted remake of 11 July” — a day of nationwide protests in 2021 –which did not occur. The cries of “freedom” and “homeland and life” that were heard in the protests were deemed to be slogans uttered by those who “tried to give it a political nuance,” “provocators who luckily were nullified by the people’s own actions and by the rapid response from the leaders,” they argued. This followed the same lines as the State newspaper Granma, which headlined this Tuesday on its cover: New attempt at a soft coup against Cuba. The lords of chaos were left wanting.

“The population is tired of the blackouts caused by the blockade and comes out to complain peacefully, although Florida seeks to instigate ‘an attempted remake of July 11,’ which did not occur”

Beyond the extensive rhetoric, the meeting offered some news, starting with the announcement of how soon the relief of the blackouts will take place and continuing with the plausible explanation that a ship – the Eco Fleet – coming from Tunisia and loaded with some 39,000 tons of diesel has been a few miles from the port of Havana for a month without being able to unload.

“How many ships have not reached the Cuban coast, looking at us from the high seas and they have not been able to arrive because we do not have the money to pay for it or they have been sanctioned. There has been the case of some who have arrived and said: ’Look, I can’t touch land’ and they have had to go and buy the ship, 20 million that perhaps the country had earmarked for the purchase of raw materials for the blood pressure people and that there is not enough to complete the purchase of the [items included in the rationing system’s] basic basket,” said Zamora.

The four analysts addressed the energy situation, praising that the 400 MW the country had before the Revolution has tripled – and ignoring the fact that electricity needs have multiplied compared to 60 years ago – and lamenting the damage US sanctions on Venezuelan oil have caused, although they were relaxed at the end of 2022 and will only be resumed in April if Chavismo does not rectify its violation of the Barbados agreements.

However, the journalists admitted that it is logical that the unrest would lead the population to the streets. “You have to be in a blackout that lasts more than two or three hours, some are lasting more than 10 hours, you have to be under that feeling in the middle of the heat.” “There is obviously irritation, because the issue of the blackout is always multipilied.” “It impacts water, it impacts food, it impacts various issues,” they acknowledged.

“There is obviously irritation, because the issue of the blackouts is always multiplied, it impacts water, it impacts food, it impacts various issues”

The key, they agreed, is pedagogy. “On January 1, Raúl said: ’With the population we can’t get tired of explaining and we have to be very patient because there really is an overwhelming situation that everyone shares and understands,’” they noted.

Hence the presence of the secretary of the Communist Party of Santiago, Beatriz Johnson Urrutia, perched on a rooftop “attending to a group of dissatisfiers” and the strange case of Cubadebate reporting on the protests almost in real time, although in its own way. “The press in our country has to have a greater capacity to respond to make known what is happening and, above all, to block the path to slander and lies,” Betancourt demanded.

Alonso intervened to affirm that they have “wanted to manipulate, to even talk about repression,” but “they have not been able to raise the drama that they wanted to present,” he said, entering forcefully into the naming of who is to blame.

The second half of the program was dedicated to talking about the responsibility of the United States for the situation of hunger and need that Cubans are experiencing. The argument of the 1960 Mallory memorandum to overthrow Castroism – now aggravated by the accusation of sponsoring terrorism or imposing a visa on Europeans traveling to the Island – was cited as a historical reference, and it was deplored that American politicians denounced the misery of the people. Cuban that they provoke. “I suffocate you, I suffocate you and then I accuse you of doing nothing,” Zamora said.

The participants at the Round Table pointed out that the United States, drop by drop, has been creating “a structural deficiency from which, as the decades pass, it becomes more difficult to escape.” “They want the history of Haiti to be repeated (…) because the French charged them with the audacity of having rebelled as they want to do to us: the audacity of being independent,” Rodríguez Derivet cried, before going into particular details. He said of Congresswoman María Elvira Salazar that she has no brain, he called Senator Bob Menéndez elemental and Randy Malcon, from Gente de Zona, and the influencer Alexander Otaola, were accused of promoting riots and spreading lies.

He said of Congresswoman María Elvira Salazar that she has no brain, he called Senator Bob Menéndez elemental and Randy Malcon, from Gente de Zona, and the ‘influencer’ Alexander Otaola, were accused of promoting riots and spreading lies

He also highlighted the accusation they made of choosing Sunday as a day to incite rebellion “because people are resting at home,” as on 11 July 2021. “When the Cuban family is on their weekend, that is when they launch to their pack to generate a series of things, because effectively if you say to me: ’Get out into the street, because they are taking the oil, they are feeding themselves’…”

On the Round Table there was also talk of alleged harassment on networks through rumors. “We have seen that they talk about purges in the Government, of military conspiracy (…) like when they were involved in violence for a while: ’don’t go out on the street because they will kill you, because they will assault you.’ It was all a lie, but they repeat it and repeat it,” they argued. In their opinion, there are people who try to stand out every time “two or three cats come out in a city to protest” and there are even those who go to those protests and see that they are not taking place.

There was also time, in the long hour dedicated to diverting attention, to vindicate the achievements in “social assistance”, which they tried to defend – they argued – against all odds. “There is American chicken in Cuba, yes indeed paid for in cash,” said Rodríguez Derivet to underline the demands for exemptions to the embargo.

“They talk about the Castro Government because of the obsession that they couldn’t beat Fidel, that they couldn’t beat Raúl. They have to continue calling Castro everything that happens while the Revolution exists,” he added.

Despite everything, the news of the day for those involved was, and so they said, the victory of Vladimir Putin in an election without effective competition “with more than 80% of the votes.” “There were provocations, there were incidents, there were even hacker attacks. However, everything has happened calmly,” Alonso said almost at the beginning of the program. In Moscow Cuba’s Deputy Prime Minister, Ricardo Cabrisas signed five memorandums of understanding yesterday between BioCubaFarma and several companies in Russia for the clinical development and registration of medicines. Hence it was noted that “Vladimir Putin’s victory is a very important event.”


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