Nuevo Culture

Here’s Why Cuba is Breaking Out Into Protests, Again

Hundreds took to the streets in Santiago, Cuba, in a rare public protest on Sunday (March 17). Other cities then joined in later in the day. This comes as the Caribbean nation is facing its worst economic crisis in three decades, with social media users reporting even more food scarcity than usual and power outages of up to 18 hours a day. This prompted the protests.

Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel addressed the protests on X (formerly known as Twitter), saying, “Several people have expressed their dissatisfaction with the situation of electrical service and food distribution.” He also added that: “The disposition of the authorities of the Party, the State, and the Government is to attend to the complaints of our people, listen, dialogue, explain the numerous efforts that are being carried out to improve the situation, always in an atmosphere of tranquility and peace.”

But Díaz-Canel didn’t hesitate to blame U.S. sanctions for the situation. Government critics, however, blame mismanagement. Sanctions aren’t new, and conditions on the island have greatly deteriorated in the last few decades. Things, however, have taken a turn for the critical since the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The President also said “terrorists” from the United States were looking to foment further uprisings. “This context will be taken advantage of by the enemies of the Revolution, for destabilizing purposes,” Diaz-Canel said on X.

Social media reports indicate police were sent to Santiago. It wasn’t clear whether anyone was arrested. But what is clear is that hundreds of people hit the streets, even in the dark, to protest conditions in Cuba.

Protests in Cuba are rare but have become more frequent in recent years due to the worsening economic crisis. In 2021, a series of anti-government protests rocked the island. The government responded by cracking down hard on protesters, ordering the arrests of many. Now, the economic crisis is even worse, and protests are starting once again.