Wide Deployment of Cuba’s Repressive Forces Fails to Prevent Another Protest in Nuevitas

Protesters warned that if the electricity was cut off again, they would take to the streets again. (Screen capture)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 20 August 2022 — For the second day in a row, this Friday night and during part of the early hours of this Saturday, the residents of Nuevitas, Camagüey, returned to the streets in protest over the long blackouts. The demonstration in the neighborhood of Pastelillo was repressed by the police, who arrested and struck several participants. The following videos were broadcast live.

Banging on pots and pans [a cacerolazo] and shouting “turn on the current, asshole,” “freedom,” “hey, police dickhead,” and “we don’t want more misery,” dozens of people demanded that the electricity be restored. The images show numerous police and military vehicles coming close to the demonstrators and the police attacking some of them, including at least two little girls who reported being beaten by uniformed personnel.

The demonstrators also shout “the people, united, will never be defeated” and say that several plainclothes police were in the crowd. “Those are children, they’re children,” one of the women who protests screams when the police attack a group marching down the street.

“All day the town filled with Black Berets [Army Special Forces], who passed by slowly in their vehicles on every street to intimidate us,” says a young protester who prefers anonymity. “They thought that by scaring us we wouldn’t go into the street, but we had already told them that if they took away our light again, we would protest again.”

“They also cut off our Internet for several hours, which is why there are many people who haven’t yet been able to publish their videos of the repression. The plainclothes policemen began to throw stones at people, and that made people angrier,” he explains. “Neighborhood Number 1 also took to the streets,” he adds.

According to another netizen, the police focused a spotlight on the entrance bridge to Pastelillo to “blind the demonstrators” and try to control the situation. “And they stoned the crowd, the ground was covered with stones,” he said.

In a video posted on YouTube, several neighbors are seen arguing heatedly with a policeman and another man who apparently identifies himself as a “secretary” of the Communist Party. Residents say that “in Havana they don’t cut off the power like they do here” and the official responds that with the protests “what Nuevitas is doing is an embarrassment.”

“It’s true that the police came to attack people here,” says a resident. “Did they come today to look good?” asks a woman who describes the assault on an 11-year-old girl. “You may have a generator in your house but we don’t. We’re stubborn,” adds a man who has “two children who can’t sleep.”

This protest comes a few hours after hundreds of people took to the streets in that same Camagüey city in a demonstration not seen in Cuba since July 11, 2021.

Text: #Urgent | #Share – This Friday’s demonstration in #Nuevitas for the #apagones [blackouts], was repressed by the police who arrested and beat several participants, according to videos broadcast live or recorded from the place. [Note: The little girls screaming in the video — striped shirt and red shirt — in a video recorded shortly after this one described what happened to them and showed their injuries.]

The protest, as observed in numerous videos shared on social networks, was massive, illuminated by the flashlight of cell phones and motorcycle headlights, and accompanied by banging on pots and pans, horns, clapping and shouted slogans.

According to what residents of Nuevitas told 14ymedio, the demonstrators went to the headquarters of the local Communist Party, a building that was illuminated in the middle of the darkness of the power outage, and there they cried out: “If you remove it again, we go to the streets again,” “we want freedom” and the traditional “the people, united, will never be defeated.”

Although the police arrived, “They practically couldn’t do anything, because it was a sea of people.” Immediately, he says, they turned on the power. “They were afraid of us,” the source said.

To respond to the popular protest, the regime organized a march on Friday, with Cuban flags, photos of Fidel Castro and the old slogan Pin pon fuera, abajo la gusanera,* a slogan that gained strength in 1980 during the Mariel Boatlift and that was used against Cubans who decided to leave the country.

In the official counter-march, an official said that Nuevitas had  the “heart and balls” to defend the Revolution.

*Translator’s note: Get out! Down with the worms!  

Translated by Regina Anavy


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