Cuba is experiencing a situation of serious social tension with increasing protests and riots in the streets due to the lack of electricity in many homes in the country after Hurricane Ian hit. Although power was slowly being restored in some neighborhoods of the capital and in areas in the center and east of the island, Cubans in many places continued to experience power outages this Saturday, and it will be five days after the impact of the cyclone, meaning that many people do not have running water either. The uneasiness of the population is growing by the hour and is beginning to exceed the usual in the face of a disaster of this nature, with increasing questioning of the government, which has admitted that there is no capacity to resolve the situation immediately, although it is working piece by piece . .
“We can’t take this anymore, we can’t go on like this, this has to change,” was the comment of Manuel, a resident of one of Havana’s shadowed neighborhoods that has been home to protests and pot-banging Thursday night. The installations in various districts of Havana continued on Friday night, always in places where power had not been restored. At Calle 60 in the municipality of Playa, a crowd took to the streets, disrupting traffic as night fell. In a short time the place was surrounded by the police and numerous special troops, although at no time was there any violence and people only asked to turn on lights. The authorities later organized an act of refusal in which young people from other locations were brought on buses that shouted pro-government slogans at the protesters until the people left the location.
The same thing happened in other parts of Havana, and for the second day in a row, the internet was blocked for hours in most of the country, coinciding with the moment the incidents happened.
The first secretary of the Communist Party in the capital, Luis Antonio Torres, admitted that there had been demonstrations in the last few hours and that they were legitimate. “We have had to deal with isolated complaints about the water and electricity situation and the loss of food due to power shortages. We think these demands are fair,” said the official, but who believed that “protesting is a right, but a right when those in charge of state and government fail to meet their responsibilities.”
This, in his opinion, was not the case and for this reason he reiterated that the protests that had taken place “instead of helping to delay the accomplishment” of the “mission” at this point in time should be achieved “in the future” as soon as possible by the full recovery.
Just as the authorities dealt with an emergency situation caused by the passage of Hurricane Ian, which devastated part of Pinar del Río province and severely affected other western regions such as Artemisa, Mayabeque and Havana, leaving three dead, millionaires and losses caused by the collapse of the national electricity grid, is now the focus of much criticism, both on the street and on social networks. Either because they were overwhelmed by the seriousness of the situation, or because they didn’t deal with it well, or because structural deficiencies and neglect over the years have led to this disaster, many criticize the government for walking through the island over the past few years had much worse hurricanes than Ian, and it’s never been worse than it is now.
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Even official media outlets like Cubadebate have published voices from netizens that broadly sum up the problem, unprecedented on the island. “Unfortunate state of SEN [Sistema electroenergético nacional]! Worse every day! This Ian-produced event has complicated matters and, to my unprofessional eye, we were not ready to bounce back from a “generation zero,” wrote a Cuban, alluding to the general meltdown that took place on Tuesday when the entire Country was left without electricity. .
Another asked in the same official medium: “Please provide updates on how things are going. Here in the central provinces it is not known what is there, the little food that will be lost, give some information to at least know what to expect. And a third went even further, addressing the Cuban President directly, using his first and last name and in capital letters: “NOT ONLY THERE IS NO SOCIALISM WITHOUT ELECTRICITY. THERE IS NO REVOLUTION. POWER CANNOT BE SAVED OR IMPORTED. YOU MUST GENERATE IT”.
If this was what was said and published in the official media, the criticism on the street and on social networks went much further. People talk shit. “For them to be thrown aside is a disaster for the government which, instead of investing in electricity, has irresponsibly built hotels and hotels. Long live Fidel, down with the incompetent and corrupt bureaucracy,” assured Pedro, one of the Havanans who lives in one of the neighborhoods where the light has not yet returned. As of Saturday, the light had not yet arrived in areas of the capital, which could spark fresh protests.
The authorities acknowledge that there are many outages and that it will take some time for the situation to normalize within the anomaly that the electricity supply represents in Cuba today, where in many provinces the power outages lasted for months up to 12 hours a.m day and more. . The press reported that ten planes have arrived or will arrive from Mexico with emergency aid to deal with the crisis, as well as experts to work together to restore power. It is a critical and unprecedented moment and everyone seems very aware of it.