Social unrest grows in Cuba after the blackout caused by Hurricane 'Ian' | International

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Cuba is experiencing a situation of serious social tension, with more and more protests and casseroles in the streets due to the lack of electricity in many homes in the country after the passage of the hurricane Ian. Although the electricity service has slowly begun to be restored in some neighborhoods of the capital and areas of the center and east of the island, in many places Cubans were still in blackout this Friday afternoon, and it will be four days like this after the impact of the cyclone, which means that millions of people are also without running water. The unease of the population grows by the hour and begins to overwhelm what is usual in the face of a catastrophe of these characteristics, while the Government admits that there is no capacity to resolve the situation immediately, although it is working piecemeal.

"We can't take it anymore, we can't go on like this, this has to change," was the comment of Manuel, a resident of one of the Havana neighborhoods that remains in the dark, where there were protests and pot-banging on Thursday night. There are reports that during the day the same thing happened in other cities and towns on the island, although mobile and data telephony works poorly and there is a lot of confusion, it is difficult to confirm the news.

Opposition activists denounced that internet traffic was blocked for hours on Thursday in places where there were demonstrations of discontent in the street, while videos circulate on social networks of small boos to the president of the government, Miguel Díaz-Canel, and other leaders when they carried out a visit to Batabanó, a coastal city south of Havana where Ian caused flooding and heavy damage. The official press has not confirmed whether the news is real or not.

The first secretary of the Communist Party in the capital, Luis Antonio Torres, did admit that there have been protests in recent hours and that they are legitimate. “We had to face isolated situations where there were popular complaints about the situation of water, electricity and the loss of food due to lack of electricity. We consider these claims fair," said the senior official, who nevertheless considered that "protesting is a right, but a right when those responsible for the State and the Government are failing to do what is their responsibility."

In his opinion, this is not the case, and for this reason he affirmed that the protests that have taken place, "instead of helping, slow down the fulfillment" of the "mission" at this time, which is to achieve "in the shortest possible time have full recovery.

Precisely how the authorities have handled an emergency situation caused by the passage of Hurricane Ian, which has devastated part of the province of Pinar del Río and severely affected other western regions such as Artemisa, Mayabeque and Havana, leaving three dead, losses millionaires and causing the national electrical system to collapse, is now the focus of numerous criticisms, both on the street and on social networks. Either because the serious situation has overwhelmed them, or because they have not handled it well, or because structural deficiencies and neglect over the years have led to this disaster, many criticize the Government on the grounds that in previous years they have gone through the island had many worse cyclones than Ian, and it had never been as extreme as it is now.

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Even official media such as Cubadebate have published voices of Internet users that crudely put their finger on the problem, something unprecedented on the island. “Unfortunate state of the SEN [Ssistema electroenergético nacional]! Every day worse! This event produced by Ian has complicated the issue and to my non-expert eye: we were not prepared to recover from a “Generation Zero”, wrote a Cuban, who alluded to the general collapse that occurred on Tuesday, when the entire country was left without electricity. .

Another asked in this same official medium: “Please give information on how things are going. Here in the central provinces it is not known what there is, the little to eat that is going to be lost, put some information to know at least what to expect. And a third went further and addressed the Cuban president directly, with names and surnames, and in capital letters: “WITHOUT ELECTRICITY NOT ONLY THERE IS NO SOCIALISM. THERE IS NO REVOLUTION. ELECTRICITY CANNOT BE STORED OR IMPORTED. YOU HAVE TO GENERATE IT”.

If that's how people spoke in the official media and they published it, on the street and on social networks the level of criticism went much further. People talk shit. “That they are thrown aside, it 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 and where the arrival of night, after four days without electricity and with despair at flower of skin, made fear new protests.

The authorities admit that there are many breakdowns and that the situation will take time to normalize, and that within the abnormality that the electricity supply in Cuba represents today, where in many provinces the blackouts are up to 12 hours a day and more for months. . 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 collaborate in reestablishing the electrical service. It is a critical and unprecedented moment, and everyone seems to be very aware of it.

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