Protests in Havana due to ongoing power outages

Protests in Havana due to ongoing power outages

Facing a major power outage following Hurricane Ian, Cuba has seen a third straight day of rare protests. On the busy Linea street in the capital Havana, some residents of the central neighborhood of Vedado set up a roadblock with dumped garbage containers last night (local time). A few dozen participants demonstrated there, banging pots, because they had not had electricity or running water for five days.

A government spokesman tries to calm angry people after a power outage in Havana, Cuba

Location of APA/AFP/Yamil

Military representatives of the one-party socialist state tried to appease with assurances that work was being done to repair the lines. But they were silenced with angry complaints about the state’s slow work.

Some protesters also called for “freedom”. Later, opponents and government supporters shouted slogans among themselves. Plainclothes police arrested at least one person. According to reports on social media, there were also protests in other parts of Havana.

The water supply was also affected.

“Ian” swept across the western Caribbean country on Tuesday as a category three-in-five hurricane. There were floods, according to the government, thousands of homes and much of the infrastructure of the tobacco industry in the important region of Pinar del Rio was destroyed. There was also a power outage across the country. Many people, including in areas of the capital, had not been restored to power until yesterday. The water supply, which works through electric pumps, was also affected.

Even before the storm, Cuba’s power grid was in poor condition, with frequent interruptions. These were also a trigger for anti-government demonstrations on July 11, 2021 – probably the biggest since the 1959 Cuban revolution. Hundreds of participants were sentenced to prison terms, some of them long.