14ymedio, Martha Beatriz Roque Cabello, Havana, 6 February 2021 — There are two major problems that have been present in the month of January: The return — with more force — of the Chinese virus; and the ’Ordering Task’*. In the case of the Chinese virus, the last day of the period ended with 906 positive samples, which implies a significant rebound. From April 15, 2020, a little more than a month after the pandemic arrived, there is an accumulation of 862 positive cases.
The problems in medical supplies, the shortage of PCR Covid tests and the delay in the results from the laboratories that have collapsed, have been defining for this month, in which the inefficiency of the Public Health system has been clear.
To which must be added the lack of ambulances, which means they have had to use public transport buses to move patients infected with the disease; and the reporting of the death of a 5-year-old girl from Matanzas whom they were unable to rush to the provincial pediatric hospital. The ambulance appeared five hours after it was requested and was not properly equipped, and the little girl died two hours later.
The number of infected children that is announced is also alarming; as well as the way in which the number of deceased has grown. In fact, January has been the deadliest month of the pandemic and Luis Antonio Torres Iríbar, first secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba for Havana, has said that: “Havana could get worse.”
Despite the fact that extreme measures have been taken in some provinces, the outbreak has not been contained. In particular, the two aspects that most affect the crowding of people are: transport, very scarce; and the lines at the stores and markets, due to the shortages of food and hygiene products.
Without knowing who is responsible for the crazy ideas of the economy, although the public face is Marino Murillo, at the worst moment of the pandemic the government put into effect the ’Ordering Task’* and only 20 days later “President” Díaz-Canel said that the Ordering had to be ordered; in the first place, due to the number of complaints that have been received from the population due to high prices, given the empty pockets of ordinary Cubans.
Order is nowhere to be seen in the first month that has elapsed this year, but there is a lot of annoyance in a society that has had to endure an 11% drop in its Gross Domestic Product during 2020. It is as if the regime was saying to the people: “Whoever can, save themselves.”
In summary, it can be said that the dictatorship continues living in a fictional world that does not take into account the needs of the people and thus violates our elemental rights.
If there was a November 27, now there will be a January 27 in which the figure of the Minister of Culture, Alpidio Alonso Grau, has stood out, beating an independent journalist to take away a cell phone, with which he was filming him.
The protests of the San Isidro Movement and the group of November 27 continue, now demanding the Minister of Culture resign, and noting the National Capitol building as the meeting place.
Inflation continues to be rampant, with unstoppable prices, despite the regime’s threats of fines and seizures, measures it will probably implement shortly, through legal channels.
On the other hand, the religious issue has been on the social scene for several months now. A group of priests and practicing Catholics in Cuba and other countries around the world wrote the document: “I have seen the affliction of my people”, which was published on January 24. Immediately, the official site Razones de Cuba [Cuba’s Reasons] replied on January 28 with the article ’Counterrevolution sheltered behind the cross and the cassock.’
It is not necessary to explain that the official response was more of the same, to mention that it was charged that the document was signed by counterrevolutionaries financed by United States intelligence agencies. It also states that for months, several Cuban priests launched themselves to incite the parishioners from the pulpit of their churches, with broad media support from Miami.
Videos showing police abuse are on the rise on the social networks, which are forwarded and become viral. But one in particular has circulated with statements by Colonel Ramón Valle Luna, in which he can be seen boasting that he had three deaths and that Fidel and Raúl said: “Don’t even touch me.” Irrefutable proof of the violation of human rights in Cuba, where all power is concentrated in the figure of the First Secretary of the Communist Party [Raul Castro] in turn.
*Translator’s note: The Tarea Ordenamiento (Ordering Task) is a series of government actions that include ’unifying’ the two currencies — the Cuban Convertible peso and the Cuban peso — resetting wages and pensions, resetting prices, and other measures.
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