14ymedio, Havana, 4 April 2022 — The protests in Cuba continue to increase. As documented by the Cuban Conflict Observatory (OCC) in its monthly report, made public this Monday, last March there were a total of 232 public demands, compared to 207 in February.
As a result of the demonstrations of July 11 and 12, 2021 (11J), the Madrid-based organization points out, the regime has deployed a policy of “extreme terror” in Cuba aimed at “de-stimulating” any demonstration. However, since then, the OCC has registered 2,267 protests, “an increase of more than 60% in relation to the eight months prior to 11J.”
Among the acts of protest documented by the NGO, 149 had to do with the defense of political and civil rights, the majority of which (134), related to police repression and abuse, including, says the Observatory, “judicial arbitrariness and convictions of peaceful demonstrators on July 11, as well as torture and ill-treatment in prisons.”
For economic and social issues, there were 84 protests, focused mainly on the consequences of the so-called Ordering Task*, especially on inflation, and the shortage of basic products.
The OCC highlights that during March, Cuba was rated as the “least free country in the Americas,” according to the annual evaluation by Freedom House, and its economy was rated as “the most miserable in the world” according to the annual Hanke index.
The Cuban government, the organization says, “suffers from a fetishism that makes protests look like an evil that must be eradicated without realizing that they are a reflection of the serious conflicts that have accumulated without being addressed or resolved.”
Meanwhile, the document continues, “frustration over the widespread internal crisis and lack of freedoms, as well as the disproportionate convictions and other abuses against peaceful 11J protesters continued to galvanize critics of the government in March,” critics which include, according to highlights the OCC, supporters of the regime.
In this regard, he highlights the statements of Silvio Rodríguez, who said that such high sentences for demonstrating did not seem fair to him. “As far as I know they didn’t kill anyone,” said the musician.
Cuba, concludes the Observatory, “continues to be a social bomb with a short fuse,” and warns: “If the government continues in its position of hardening, the protests can become violent.”
*Translator’s note: Tarea ordenamiento = the [so-called] ‘Ordering Task’ which is a collection of measures that includes eliminating the Cuban Convertible Peso (CUC), leaving the Cuban peso as the only national currency, raising prices, raising salaries (but not as much as prices), opening stores that take payment only in hard currency which must be in the form of specially issued pre-paid debit cards, and others.
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