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‘Patria Y Vida’: What Is Happening in Cuba and Why Are Cubans Protesting in Miami?

‘Patria Y Vida’: What Is Happening in Cuba and Why Are Cubans Protesting in Miami?

This Sunday witnessed a surge of Cuban voices hitting the streets, resonating with a unified cry against the iron grip of Miguel Díaz-Canel’s regime. However, as the protests unfolded, the government’s all-too-familiar playbook came into action, once again stifling communication channels to shroud their actions from the world. 

Thousands poured onto the streets of Santiago de Cuba and Bayamo, demanding answers amid the harrowing energy crisis and crippling shortages gripping the nation. Videos capturing the early moments of the protests swiftly circulated across social media platforms, painting a vivid picture of grassroots discontent. 

Yet, as the momentum of dissent gained traction, reports flooded in of internet connectivity plummeting, leaving many unable to communicate within and beyond Cuba’s borders. Even those outside the country voiced frustration at their inability to reach loved ones amidst the turmoil. 

This weekend, the crisis reached a tipping point as fuel scarcity compounded the strain on the country’s energy infrastructure, exacerbating an already dire situation. Against this backdrop of adversity, even Cubans in Miami congregated outside the iconic Versailles restaurant, lending their voices in solidarity with their compatriots on the island. Miami has the largest population of Cubans in the United States, which is why this move is so important. 

In a bid to quell the rising tide of dissent, Díaz-Canel’s administration strategically targeted areas with the heaviest unrest, selectively cutting off internet access and throttling connectivity through Nauta services and VPNs. Sancti Spíritus, Holguín, and Pinar del Río bore witness to similar struggles, highlighting the widespread nature of the regime’s efforts to stifle dissent. 



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Protestors in Cuba Chant ‘Patria Y Vida’ Again

Meanwhile, reports emerged from Holguín of a heavy-handed militarization of key public spaces, as authorities sought to preempt any spillover from the protests in Santiago. Eyewitnesses described a visible presence of armed officers, both uniformed and in plainclothes, signaling the regime’s apprehension at the prospect of unrest spreading. 

Echoes of “Patria y Vida,” the rallying cry of the historic 2021 protests, reverberated once more through the crowd, underscoring a continued defiance against oppression. 

Across the bay in Bayamo, protesters rallied under the banner of “Abajo Díaz Canel” (Down with Díaz-Canel) and “El pueblo unido jamás será vencido” (The people united will never be defeated), emblematic of a populace united in their resolve for change. 

Since early March, maintenance work at the Antonio Güiteras thermoelectric plant, Cuba’s largest, has precipitated a wave of intermittent blackouts, plunging communities into darkness. But people are no longer waiting around. It’s time Cubans get treated fairly and humanely.  

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