Cuba’s New Penal Code: Another Tool to Stifle Dissent

Photo: Abraham Echevarría.

The repressors now have a new and clear statute allowing them to criminalize, for example, the exercise of independent journalism.

By El Toque

HAVANA TIMES – Cuba’s new Penal Code takes effect on December 1, 2022, the end of the established 90-day waiting period after the law’s publication in the Official Gazette on September 1. The bill was unanimously approved by the People’s Power Assembly in May 2022.

As a result, those under the jurisdiction of the Cuban state who commit any of the crimes typified in the new code, will now be tried according to the rules established in its text.

The new code is substantively identical to the initial version posted on the website of the People’s Supreme Tribunal (Tribunal Supremo Popular), the entity charged with drafting the text and presenting it to Parliament.

The deputies that approved the new code called it an example of the perfection and clarity of the Cuban legal system. However, the text opens the way for an increase in the repression of citizen protests, and a limitation of the fundamental rights.

Now, the Cuban government will be able to apply the death penalty for a greater number of criminal offences (24 crimes listed, four more than the 1987 version). Likewise, the number of offences punishable by life sentences increased: (31 types of crimes, an increase of 28 over the past version). In the case of the death penalty, the majority of the crimes were concentrated on cases related to State security.

In addition, they’ll be able to dictate sentences between four and ten years in prison for those who receive or independently finance what the authorities consider activities against the State and the Constitutional order. (Article 143).   

The criminal statute called “Other acts against State Security” didn’t exist in the 1987 Penal Code. According to this, the individual who “by themselves or in representation of non-government organizations, institutions of an international character, associations of any form, or any legal or natural entity in the country or of a foreign state, supports, foments, finances, supplies, receives or holds in their power funds, or material or financial resources, with the objective of defraying the cost of activities against the State and its Constitutional order” are subject to criminal penalties.

The organisms of political repression now have a new and clear penal statute allowing them to criminalize, for example, the exercise of independent journalism.

The new code also establishes sentences of up to eight years in prison for those who “habitually” leave or try to leave the country illegally. (Article 283.2). The Cuban government maintained this crime in the law, despite the commitments they assumed as part of the migration agreements signed with the United States between 1994 and 1995. Article 283.1 empowers the authorities to prosecute, without a prior judgment, those who are detained on multiple occasions in attempts to leave the national territory.

Prosecution will also be implemented for what the Code describes as “socially unacceptable vices” (Article 189.3). This variation in the crime of disobedience was created – as they argued during the exposition of the bill’s rationale – to confront “the actions associated with the practice of socially unacceptable vices that aren’t defined within the current criminal statutes.”

This will allow criminal sanctions for the person who repeatedly “disobeys or fails to comply with measures that have been legally imposed by the competent authorities, or with the warnings issued as the result of their inobservance of measures adopted by the organ or entity charged with social prevention.” In other words, citizens must now forcibly comply with any warnings or orders issued by Cuban police, even when it involves conduct that’s neither illegal nor criminal.

Article 120 of the new Penal Code considers it a crime to “attempt to totally or partially change the Constitution of the Republic or the form of government established therein, via the arbitrary exercise of Constitutional rights. Similarly, sanctions are established for “impeding the President or Vice President, or the superior state and government organs, from exercising their functions, completely or partially, even in a temporary manner.”

For doing either of these two things, an individual can receive sentences between four and ten years in prison. Effectively, the code legalizes political repression, given the non-existence in the country of peaceful and democratic channels to promote structural changes.

Hence, the publication of the new Penal Code in the Official Gazette began the formal countdown to the implementation of a repressive catalogue, specially designed to combat and avoid any dissent and protest.

Both of the latter have been on the rise in Cuba lately. The entry into effect of the Penal Code in this new context is yet another addition to the Cuban authorities’ attempts to detain, through the intimidation produced by repression, the new wave of social discontent.

The new Penal Code was triggered by the capacity for protest demonstrated by the Cuban public in the summer of 2021. Its principal vocation is that of serving the powers that be by legitimizing the state violence that’s been increasing since then, in a way that’s proportional to the rebellion of the citizens.

Read more from Cuba here on Havana Times



One thought on “Cuba’s New Penal Code: Another Tool to Stifle Dissent

  • The following article was published online by the Detroit/Seattle Workers’ Voice mailing list on Sept. 1, 2022. D/SWV is affiliated with the Communist Voice Organization, website http://www.communistvoice.org.

    Protests continue in Cuba:
    Remember July 11th!
    In Cuba, July marked the one-year anniversary of the mass protests of July 11, 2021. (1) On that day, thousands of people poured into the streets throughout the island to voice their complaints about economic misery, to denounce the continued tyranny, and in some cases even to call for the overthrow of the present regime. The government itself admits that some 10-15,000 people came out in demonstrations that day, (2) so the actual number was probably much more. Photos and videos are available online at various websites, including Al Jazeera’s. Even sympathizers with the regime like Helen Yaffe admit that the masses in Cuba have plenty to complain about. (3) Protests erupted in over 60 cities that day, organized surreptitiously by people using the internet. Protesters often chanted “Down with the dictatorship!” and “We want liberty!”, and many people sang snatches of the popular song, “Patria y Vida.”
    The Cuban revolution of the late 1950s-early 60s was an important event that broke the chains of U.S. imperialism in a nearby Latin American country. It raised up the Black semi-slave sugar-cane cutters and spread education and medical care on a free and equal basis. But over time the regime established in Cuba became state-capitalist and repressive as it hitched its wagon to another imperialist power, the state-capitalist USSR. This is a tragedy. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Cuban government leaders have been transitioning along the market-capitalist path trod before by Russia and China. But workers in Cuba are learning to develop struggle against the austerity and repression imposed on them.
    Today, people still imprisoned for their role in the July 11th demonstrations are honored as martyrs, and recently demonstrations broke out again in the city of Pinar del Rio. After enduring a grueling power blackout for eleven hours, hundreds of people poured into the streets on the night of July 14-15. (4) With loud voices they denounced the continuing blackout and also chanted “We are hungry!” Having learned its lesson from last year’s protests, the government internet supplier immediately cut off the internet for the entire island to prevent the protest from spreading. (5) But nightly protests are breaking out in many places; people march under cover of darkness to remain anonymous, banging pots and pans and loudly denouncing the regime.
    Years in prison for voicing complaints
    Last year over 1,000 protesters were rounded up on and after July 11. (6) For days families searched for protesters who had disappeared. Many protesters were imprisoned for extended periods. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch both complained about the treatment of prisoners and accused the government of engaging in arbitrary detention and ill-treatment of detainees. HRW said the ensuing criminal prosecutions were ridden with abuse and were overreaction to what were overwhelmingly peaceful protests. Despite these objections, criminal prosecutions were pursued. Recently the Cuban attorney general’s office released statistics on those who had been “sanctioned”, i.e., convicted in secret trials. They say 381 people have been “sanctioned”. Of those, 297 were sentenced to at least five years in prison. (7)
    More specific information is hard to come by, since Cuba does not release individual names of prisoners, what they were charged with, who was sentenced for how long, etc. They don’t even report the total number of those imprisoned or what they were sentenced for. But some information has been gleaned from government spokesmen, since they make a point of condemning the protesters. Thirty-six were charged with sedition and received sentences of up to 25 years. (8) One hundred were sentenced in March of this year, and another 56 people in July. The latter had been languishing in jail for a year awaiting trial, and they were all sentenced to between ten and eighteen years. It’s horrible that people get these kinds of sentences just for being in a demonstration, even if the protests got fairly rowdy at times. Such sentences only prove that the protesters were right when they chanted slogans against the dictatorship. Cuba is not even democratic, much less socialist.
    The government not only goes after the protesters but also pursues their family and friends. One conscientious woman who held a one-woman protest against the harsh sentences outside the “Justice” Dept. headquarters was told to either leave the country or go to jail. (She left.) (9) Some mothers of those arrested talked of forming an organization to protest the treatment of their children, but they were all visited individually by secret police and told this would not be allowed; if they persisted, they would be joining their children in prison. This is the kind of “freedom” that exists in this so-called “socialist” country.
    Jailing dissident artists and musicians
    Dissident voices began voicing their concerns a few years ago about the time Raul Castro retired from the presidency and was replaced by a younger man, Miguel Diaz-Canel. Right away Diaz-Canel proposed a new law, Decree 349, that banned artistic and musical exhibitions that were not previously approved by some official government body. In response, a group of artists in Havana formed a group called the San Isidro Movement (SIM) to protest this Decree. They organized a demonstration outside the Ministry of Culture building on November 27, 2020, that drew a few hundred people. (10) Since then, the members of SIM have held numerous concerts and exhibitions without official approval in defiance of the law. Their music videos are reproduced on the internet and on thumb drives that get a wide distribution. This has brought government repression: police have raided their building in Havana numerous times, confiscated works of theirs and arrested members, some of whom have spent months in jail and mental institutions.
    The latest round of police attacks began after July 11, as many protesters were singing or chanting lines from one of SIM’s songs, “Patria y Vida” (homeland and life). The title of this song is counterposed to a slogan from the Cuban revolution of 1959, “Patria o Muerte” (homeland or death). The song’s attitude to the 1959 revolution is stated in an oft-repeated phrase, “It’s over; you five-nine, me double-two.” That is to say, “The revolution of 1959, which you (the regime) celebrate and constantly harp on, is over; as for me, I’m living in 2022.” The present reality is described in phrases that refer to “tenements” and “the pots no longer have food” and “folks are scrambling , trading Che Guevara and Marti for [hard] currency.” The rulers are criticized for being separated from the people and not treating them as humans. (11)
    The song’s attitude to the revolution of 1959 isn’t completely clear. It isn’t clear if the singers want to revive that revolution, or have something different. It’s not clear they recognize what they are fighting against is another variant of capitalism. They might even see American capitalist society as a positive alternative. This lack of clarity is probably due to the song reflecting the state of the movement in Cuba at this time. But one thing is clear: the protesters singing are not going to be cowed down by reference to the 1959 revolution. They are sick and tired of being told “sacrifice for the revolution.” It’s been sixty years, and the regime is stuck, as in a game of dominoes, facing off against the masses.
    Police have been hounding two of the singers who appear in the video, Maykel Castillo Perez and Luis Manuel Otero Alcantara. Castillo was jailed and then put in a mental institution after he went on a hunger strike. He was charged with “disrespect” and “resisting authority” (i.e., refusing to knuckle under to the order to stop publicly singing songs). Alcantara was charged with disorderly conduct, disrespecting authorities, and inciting to commit a crime (apparently for calling on people to join the protests of July 11). (12) Since July of 2021 Alcantara has been confined in a maximum-security penitentiary. (13) In a prison interview Alcantara says the government offered to release him if he agreed to leave Cuba and never return, but he insisted on staying in Cuba and standing trial. Without any bail or habeas corpus available, Alcantara and Castillo did eventually have trials – non-public ones! – and were convicted. They were sentenced to five years (Alcantara) and nine years (Castillo). (14) This is the way this alleged “workers’ state” treats people who voice complaints about conditions that are known and admitted by everyone.
    Also at the time of the July 11th protests, various journalists were “sanctioned” for their reporting on them, and Al Jazeera’s office in Havana was closed. The government wishes that all these “complainers” would simply disappear and leave them in comfort so they can quietly schmooze with their rich tourist friends. But protests are ongoing, both against the ever-more-frequent blackouts (15) and the imprisonment of protesters. (16)
    What’s driving the protests?
    The protests are driven by both economic and political factors. After the “special period” of the early 1990s, when the Cuban economy collapsed, reforms were initiated, and the Cuban economy showed periods of growth in the late 1990s and early 2000s. But for the past decade growth has been stagnating.
    The lack of domestic food production has plagued Cuba for decades. The state-capitalist bureaucrats constantly talk about diversification, but they fail to deliver. Take the example of rice. Rice is a main staple of the Cuban diet, the major source of carbohydrates for most Cubans. Cubans consume 700,000 metric tons (MT) each year. Everyone, including government agricultural experts, knows that rice is hugely important. But after sixty years in power, the government leaders have not figured out how to restore rice production to its pre-revolution levels. And it’s getting worse. Ten years ago, domestic production of rice was over 400,000 MT, but now it has declined to 200,000. In order to meet domestic consumption, Cuba must import 500,000 MT per year (mainly from Uruguay and Argentina). This requires a heavy load of hard currency, and still it must be rationed. The monthly ration of rice is seven pounds per person, less than half of what’s needed, and people must buy what else they need at local markets, paying out of pocket from their meager wages in pesos. This is especially hurtful during a period of high inflation – the price of rice increased by about two-and-a-half times in spring 2020. (17) At the CCP’s 8th Congress, Raul Castro talked about increasing domestic production to 600,000 MT by 2030, but this is like Joe Biden talking about cutting carbon emissions in half by 2030. It’s pie-in-the-sky talk to promise tripling production in a few years, when production has actually fallen by half in the last decade. (18)
    When Cubans try to speak out about their economic misery, the government clamps down, beating and jailing protesters. So people have political grievances as well. The regime tries to blame everything on the U.S. embargo, which it calls a blockade. And this embargo does have harmful effects. But many of the country’s problems are a result of the regime’s own mistakes and/or uncaring attitude towards the masses. The state-capitalist bureaucrats are careful about keeping the reins of the economy in their own hands and ensuring they get a steady return on the investments they make with their imperialist partners; they are less interested in ensuring that the masses have a steady supply of housing and food. (19)
    The economic problems facing the masses are well known, reported in newspapers around the globe and admitted by Raul Castro, head of the Communist Party of Cuba, at the party’s 8th Congress in April 2021. (20) In his report to the Congress, Castro said it’s important “… to make progress in increasing domestic production, especially of food, to eliminate the harmful habit of importing and generate more diversified and competitive exports.” Of course, the Cuban leaders have known this was important for the last sixty years. But what have they done about it? Instead of diversifying production, they relied on sales of sugar to the Soviet Union and importing food and industrial products. When the Soviet Union collapsed, their own economy collapsed, and they talked about diversification and domestic production again. But immediately after the previous statement, Castro said the key thing is promoting tourism, foreign investment, and “sales in freely convertible currency of foodstuffs, to encourage remittances.” Castro is not really interested in getting down to the business of domestic production of food or anything else. What’s important to him is selling imported food at MLC stores (hard-currency stores) that can soak up remittances from abroad, so the state-capitalist bureaucrats have more money to play around with investing in hotels, restaurants and bars. Following the pandemic, hotel occupancy rate is now well below 20%, but that doesn’t matter; the Cuban government keeps building more and more of them, even though the cost of building one hotel room is more than the price of ten tractors that could be used for food production.
    Castro also mentions “cleaning and personal hygiene products” which are also in short supply. He criticizes party comrades who have dared to suggest that these items be provided on an egalitarian basis in the monthly basket of rationed items. No way, Castro says; we must embrace the free market priced in dollars.
    Castro says it will all work out if party comrades show initiative, “entrepreneurial spirit”, and so forth. And he hails the establishment of the Mariel Development Zone, modeled after foreign investment zones in China. Trouble is, this zone really has not accomplished much, even though it’s been open to foreign investors for years. Again, Castro says we only need to be “proactive”, “show initiative”, etc. etc. blah blah blah. And blame the U.S. embargo for anything that doesn’t work out.
    A good way of understanding Cuba’s economic problems is to see how the government responded to last July’s protests. While imprisoning protesters, the government also played the good cop by lifting restrictions on food and medical imports. (21) Ordinarily, visitors to Cuba must pay an exorbitant customs fee for food, pharmaceuticals, and medical items they bring. And the total amount is restricted, for example 22 pounds for medical items. But now visitors were allowed to bring an unrestricted amount, and tariffs were reduced. This was a signal that the government leaders understood very well the economic reasons for the protests – shortages of food, pharmaceuticals and medicines. The other measure by government leaders was to announce more construction of new housing in poor and majority-Black neighborhoods. This was a signal that they understand the masses are getting fed up with dilapidated housing and high rents.
    The shortages of food, medicines and pharmaceuticals are combined with horrific inflation, as the price of these items is exploding. The government gives the official inflation rate for 2021 as 77%, but outside commentators estimate it was ten times that. (22) A recent anecdotal article complains about the high price of eggs and the difficulty in obtaining chicken. A resident of Havana talks proudly about buying chicken in bulk to get it cheaper but then worries about electricity blackouts affecting his freezer. (23) He and his wife spend all their time hustling on the so-called black market to get a steady supply of food. Another revealing article comes from a Canadian travel website. (24) Many Canadians travel to Cuba as tourists, and this website advises them to take along plenty of extra pharmaceuticals, toiletries and clothes to use as gratuities. This includes toilet paper, toothbrushes, shampoo, sunblock, tampons, soap, T-shirts and sweatshirts. These items are in short supply in Cuba, the website advises, and Cubans will be happy to accept them as gifts. Also condiments – ketchup, mustard, hot sauce. But the best gift of all is hard-currency cash.
    The shortages and electrical blackouts, combined with transit and other problems, make for a miserable existence for the average Cuban citizen. Many young Cubans are voting with their feet, heading for the exits if they can. Following July 11th and the subsequent repression, over 140,000 Cubans crossed the U.S./Mexico border in eight months, fall 2021-spring 2022. And these are the ones who managed to scrape up the approximate $10,000 cash needed to pay for plane fare to Central America, travel to Mexico and then to the U.S. The average working-class citizen can’t afford this and faces a bleak future unless organized protests are able to somehow break the state-capitalist stranglehold.
    Remember July 11th!
    The government rulers vacillate between maintaining their monopolistic state control and rushing to embrace the dollar and free markets, but either way the only solutions they come up with mean further austerity for the workers.
    The Association for the Study of the Cuban Economy sums up the situation on their website thusly:
    “A lot has changed in Cuba in the last two years … as the policies of the Cuban authorities have vacillated back and forth, cryptocurrencies have emerged, and the dollar has once again become king. The agricultural policy seems to have lost all coherence. Shortages of food and medicine have worsened, and power generation is in serious trouble. Yet the country invests in new hotel construction. The sugar industry finally seems dead. And yet there are signs of hope in the growth of the private sector…” (25)
    These bourgeois economists look to the extension of private, free-market capitalism as the only alternative for Cuba. The Cuban rulers themselves try to combine a transition to market capitalism with maintenance of state-monopoly control, with military control of both the state and the economy. Seventy per-cent of workers are employed by the state, and when the state-capitalist bureaucrats feel that things are not going well in some sector, they bring in military officers to shake things up. Military officers are inculcated in the latest versions of capitalist management and encourage “initiative” and “being pro-active” while they transition to complete dollarization. (26) But it’s not likely this strategy will work. Transition to market capitalism will not solve the shortages of food, medical and pharmaceutical goods; it will not halt inflation or fix the electrical grid. The imposition of austerity will only intensify as Cuba makes the transition to free markets.
    The way forward for Cuban workers is struggle against capitalist exploitation, both the free-market and state-capitalist varieties. This doesn’t mean trying to revive 1950s-style subservience to U.S. imperialism, with the poverty and corruption it entailed. It is the state-capitalist rulers themselves who are leading Cuba back into the arms of imperialism with their policy of “dollarization” and their regime of austerity. The heroic actions of Cuban dissidents, standing up against economic misery and the government’s savage repression, should be supported by workers everywhere. And we should encourage Cuban workers to clarify the nature of their struggle, to clearly target the regime as state-capitalist and its leaders as anti-Marxist revisionists. This will help them guide the movement in Cuba towards the goal of genuine socialism. []
    by Pete Brown

    NOTES
    1. “My grandson, remember well these streets.”

    Cartoon from El Toque, an online publication of Cubans who have formed a cooperative group that publishes non-official news and commentary. Unable to fit in anywhere in the Cuban economic bureaucracy, they have established themselves as a legal entity in Poland. This cartoon was reprinted in Havana Times, another unofficial publication.
    https://havanatimes.org/opinion/cuba-a-year-after-the-july-11th-protests/
    2. See the interview with Carlos Fernandez by Al Jazeera, “Fernandez: Cuba is not ready to ‘sacrifice’ socialism: Cuba’s deputy foreign minister discusses decades of hostile relations with the U.S.” Al Jazeera video, 28 May 2022.
    https://www.aljazeera.com/program/talk-to-al-jazeera/2022/5/28/fernandez-cuba-is-not-ready-to-sacrifice-socialism
    3. See Eric Draitser’s interview with Yaffe, “The Post-Revolutionary History of Cuba”, podcast on CounterPunch Radio, November 5, 2021.
    https://www.counterpunch.org/2021/11/05/helen-yaffe/
    In this interview Yaffe (who was in Havana on July 11th) admits that the protests were widespread and that the masses have plenty to complain about, that they endure “incredible hardship”, getting up at dawn to queue for food at stores that don’t open until 10:00 or 11:00 AM, that “conditions are quite unbearable”, and she was not at all surprised at some kind of social explosion. Yaffe sympathizes with Cuban citizens who are “frustrated, angry, and exhausted with conditions.” At the same time, like any Cuban government spokesman, Yaffe blames everything on the U.S. sanctions and embargo.

    4. Kiara Hurtado, “Hundreds of Cubans protest in the street: ‘We are hungry!’” La Razon, July 15, 2022.
    https://www.larazon.es/internacional/20220715/5l2idg3linheboqislz3thg2ia.html
    La Razon is a major Spanish daily newspaper published in Madrid. Its editorial slant is conservative/neoliberal, but it carries a lot of news.
    Blackouts occur throughout Cuba every day, and now the government gives regular daily announcements of scheduled blackouts. But there are also long, unscheduled blackouts. Cubans say the engineers at Empresa Electrica, the government’s power monopoly, have discovered a new law of thermodynamics: “Energy cannot be created or destroyed, but we can make it disappear.”
    5. The government shut down social media apps Facebook, Twitter and Telegram previously. See
    “Cuba restricts access to social media apps to curb protests” Al Jazeera, July 17, 2021
    https://www.aljazeera.com/economy/2021/7/14/cuba-restricts-access-to-social-media-apps-to-curb-protests
    But now the government has taken to shutting down the internet entirely during times of protest. To get around this, Cubans have moved to encrypted apps on their phones that are not reliant on wifi spots.
    6. The Independent newspaper of Britain estimates the number arrested at 1,400. See
    “On protest anniversary, Cuba, U.S. far apart on what happened.” Independent, 11 July 2022.
    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/ap-cuba-havana-antony-blinken-joe-biden-b2120846.html
    7. “Cuba sanctions nearly 400 people over anti-government protests: Nearly 300 of those sanctioned were sentenced to between five and 25 years in prison, attorney general’s office says.” Al Jazeera, 13 June 2022.
    https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/6/13/cuba-sanctions-nearly-400-people-over-anti-government-protests
    8. Oscar Lopez, “A year after mass protest, Cubans face stark choice: ‘prison or exile’”, New York Times, July 11, 2022
    https://www.nytimes.com/2022/07/11/world/americas/cuba-economy-protests.html

    9. Ibid.

    10. Ruaridh Nicoll, “Cuba musicians support protests, government softens stance” Al Jazeera, 15 July 2021
    https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/7/15/cuba-musicians-support-protests-government-softens-stance
    A friend of ours who recently visited Cuba as part of a musical tour informs us that the same law applies to foreign visitors. Before performing a public concert, they are required to perform the concert in front of government censors who check their songs and lyrics. The same kind of censorship applies to anyone who tries to make a movie; they must first submit the script to censors to make sure it doesn’t imply anything negative about Cuba.
    11. The song’s lyrics, translation, and explanation can be found in a report on NPR radio that also contains the music video. See:
    Anamaria Sayre, “Explaining ‘Patria y Vida’, the song that’s defined the uprising in Cuba.” NPR, July 20, 2021.
    https://www.npr.org/sections/altlatino/2021/07/19/1017887993/explaining-patria-y-vida-the-cuban-song-defying-an-evil-revolution
    The original Spanish lyrics can be found at:
    https://www.google.com/search?gs_ssp=eJ … AB6BAgJEAA
    The song’s reference to Anamely Ramos and Omara Ruiz Urquiola refers to two Cuban citizens, supporters of SIM, who came to the U.S. on legal visas and have since been blocked from returning to Cuba. The Cuban government has instructed airlines to not allow them to board airplanes coming to Cuba. See
    Ken Kurson, “Cuban curator Anamely Ramos Gonzalez stranded in Miami; American Airlines caves to authoritarian communist regime”. Fine Art Globe, February 19, 2022.
    https://fineartglobe.com/curators/cuban … -in-miami/
    and
    Zach, “Omara Ruiz Urquiola, the teacher that Cuba does not allow to return”, D1 Softball News, July 8, 2022.
    https://d1softballnews.com/omara-ruiz-u … to-return/
    12. Coco Fusco, “Luis Manuel Otero Alcantara speaks out from prison ahead of trial.” Hyperallergic, May 23, 2022.
    https://hyperallergic.com/735282/luis-manuel-otero-alcantara-speaks-out-from-prison-ahead-of-trial/
    13. “Cuban dissident artists go on trial, face years in prison” Al Jazeera, 30 May 2022
    https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/5/30/cuban-dissident-artists-go-on-trial-face-years-in-prison
    14. “Cuban court sentences two dissident artists to prison terms: Luis Manuel Alcantara and Maykel Castillo receive five-year and nine-year term, respectively, the Cuban prosecutor says” Al Jazeera, 24 June 2022.
    https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/6/24/cuban-court-sentences-two-dissident-artists-to-prison-terms
    15. Aleiny Sanchez Martinez, “More blackouts, more protests in Cuba”. Havana Times, August 3, 2022. (from El Toque)
    https://havanatimes.org/features/more-blackouts-more-protests-in-cuba/
    This article reports on more protests around the first of August. Protesters shout, “Turn on the power, damn it!” Diaz-Canel calls them counterrevolutionaries and arrests some, charging them with serious crimes. Comments on the article are interesting. One person notes there are no blackouts in Gibara, at the International Film Festival, as well as “plenty of Cristal.” (Cristal is champagne that costs $150 a bottle.) Film stars from abroad are feted by the bureaucrats while the masses wallow in austerity, without electricity.
    16. Facebook videos and photos of protests by mothers of protesters who have been arrested and imprisoned:

    https://www.facebook.com/dasiel.gonzale … 956359782/

    https://www.facebook.com/dasiel.gonzale … 8610297543.

    This young man was arrested for taking the videos: https://www.facebook.com/taniabruguera/ … SUkAFmQDvl

    A photo of another event: https://www.facebook.com/taniabruguera/ … 8927156939

    Pots and pans protests: https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php? … 9542973002
    Another recent protest:
    https://twitter.com/una_flaca_ahi/status/1556858235403075586?fbclid=IwAR3GJs10nX82G9kP0E00Pontn2LBNIPn5S2Px0Dm-cdPDpW98wXB2Crf-JI
    Like people living under other Latin American dictatorships, Cubans have learned to demonstrate at night. This keeps the protesters anonymous while they make lots of noise.
    More protests, August 20:
    https://17blogs.com/pin-pon-out-down-with-the-worm-the-government-of-nuevitas-responds-to-the-protests-of-its-citizens/
    The chant, “Diaz-Canel, singao, el pueblo esta cansado!” translates as “Diaz-Canel, singao [his nickname], the people are worn out!”
    17. “Cuban rice production expecting large decreases in 2020”, Commodity Intelligence Report of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, August 21, 2020.
    https://ipad.fas.usda.gov/highlights/2020/08/Cuba/index.pdf

    18. Glenda Boza Ibarra, “What’s going on with rice in Cuba?” El Toque, 8 julio 2020.
    https://eltoque.com/whats-going-on-with-rice-in-cuba

    19. Kaelyn Forde, “Cuba protests: The economic woes driving discontent: Soaring global food prices and the island’s devalued currency – coupled with longtime shortages of basic goods and the decades-long U.S. embargo – helped spark the recent demonstrations.” Al Jazeera, 16 July 2021.
    https://www.aljazeera.com/economy/2021/7/16/cuba-protests-the-economic-woes-helping-drive-discontent
    A recent article describes blacked-out neighborhoods of Havana, their only illumination being from a nearby luxury hotel for tourists. The hotel is devoid of guests but still the government keeps all its lights burning as a wishful beacon to rich tourists. Meanwhile the citizens nearby have had their electricity cut off.
    Juan Izquierdo, “Luxury hotel without customers illuminates Havana in shadows”, Havana Times, August 12, 2022. From 14ymedio. Translated by Regina Anavy for Translating Cuba.
    https://havanatimes.org/features/luxury-hotel-without-customers-illuminates-havana-in-shadows/

    20. Raul Castro, “Central Report to the 8th Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba”, Granma, Official Voice of the Communist Party of Cuba Central Committee, April 22, 2021.
    Central Report to the Eighth Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba › Cuba › Granma – Official voice of the PCC
    21. “Cuba lifts food, medicine customs restrictions amid protests” Al Jazeera, July 15, 2022.
    https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/7/15/cuba-lifts-food-medicine-restrictions-amid-protests
    22. Luis Brizuela, “Catalysts persist in Cuba a year after July 11th protests”, Havana Times, July 14, 2022
    https://havanatimes.org/features/catalysts-persist-in-cuba-a-year-after-july-11th-protests/
    Precise figures for Cuban inflation are not possible to obtain. But the government recently admitted that the official exchange rate of Cuban pesos for dollars at 24:1 was an unrealistic lie by declaring that from now on, beginning the first of August, the state bank would buy dollars at a rate of 120:1. In other words, a shortage of hard currency forced the government to admit that the so-called “black market” or “informal market” exchange rate was the more correct, realistic rate. The peso is actually worth only about one-fifth what the government had been trying to maintain. But while trying to buy dollars by offering a more realistic price, the government will not sell dollars at any price. The state bank refuses to accept Cuban pesos in exchange for U.S. dollars.
    23. Eric Caraballoso, “”This hot summer”: Unstoppable prices, long lines, transportation problems, blackouts, a resurgence of dengue fever, and suffocating temperatures are part of the current summer scene and daily conversations in Cuba”. OnCubaNews, July 11, 2022.
    https://oncubanews.com/en/cuba/this-hot-summer/
    24. David Little, “9 things you should know before travelling to Cuba.” AMA News. (AMA is the Manitoba affiliate of CAA, the Canadian Auto Association.)
    https://www.amatravel.ca/articles/9-things-you-should-know-before-travelling-to-cuba
    25. “Cuba – Growth, Inflation and Relative Living Standard”. Video presentation of March 3, 2022 for the Association for the Study of the Cuban Economy (ASCE). See the discussion at the end of the first paper presented, by professor Luis R. Luis, “Cuba: Dollarization and Devaluation”
    https://www.ascecuba.org/
    26. Mark Williams, “Privatization in the name of ‘socialism’; Over a million jobs cut as Cuban state-capitalism imposes a new wave of market reforms on the workers”. Communist Voice #46 (November 2011).
    http://communistvoice.org/46cCuba.html#mozTocId542832

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