Internet Cuts and Riot Troops Repress Protesters in Cuba

According to the images circulating on the networks, the demonstration was dominated by women and young people. (Collage)

A group of protesters reached the PCC municipal headquarters in Caimanera, Guantanamo, and chanted: “Down with the communist system!”

By 14ymedio

HAVANA TIMES – Hundreds of Cubans took to the streets to protest asking for “freedom” in the municipality of Caimanera, Guantanamo, on Saturday afternoon. Several videos circulating on networks, as well as live broadcasts through Facebook, recorded the demonstration, where women and young people predominated.

[Editor’s note: On Sunday morning the main Cuban government websites, Granma and Cubadebate did not mention the events of Saturday. The same was true for Venceremos, the local Guantanamo publication.]

The protest was repressed by uniformed men from the Special Brigade of the Ministry of the Interior known as the “black berets”, who arrested several of the demonstrators. In the images transmitted you can see the military, in the rain, beating several people and arresting others.

After 11 p.m. on Saturday, NetBlock, an observatory that monitors Internet connection outages around the world, reported that Internet traffic had collapsed on the island after the protests in Caimanera and that it had subsequently been restored but only partially.

This Sunday morning several activists and independent journalists continued to have their mobile data service cut off.

In one of the video materials, a group of protesters is seen in front of the municipal headquarters of the Communist Party and the municipal government waving their hands and shouting “freedom” and “Patria y Vida!”. Then, at least three men climbed some steps and, looking inside the building, they shouted their slogans with more force, among them: “Down with the communist system.” Shortly after they withdrew, but the people continued the protest.

“The communists here cannot go out, they hide,” said a user who broadcast live from Caimanera, who later added ironically: “This is the May Day parade, look at this,” referring to the crowd that gathered. “Yesterday the workers marched, now the people are marching, truly the people, whoever does not agree with this system here.”

At another time, a woman is heard complaining about the “hunger” and the “needs” that Cubans are going through.

As on other occasions, as soon as it was known through the networks of the peaceful demonstration, after 9 pm, the regime chose to cut off the internet on cell phones and interrupt mobile and landline phone calls, as well as SMS.

Some users, especially in the west of the country, after the internet cut, were able to connect for a few minutes using a VPN.

The newsroom of 14ymedio in Mexico lost communication with Havana shortly after the massive demonstration took place.

The municipality of Caimanera, with some 11,000 inhabitants, according to official figures, is located near the United States naval base. Nestled in the third largest coral reefs in the world, its 362 square kilometers are only accessible by locals or those with a special permit from the Cuban authorities.

The Government has always given special treatment to this Guantanamo territory, over any other municipality in the country. This includes a 30% salary bonus, in addition to more generous rations than that of other Cubans.

The lack of freedoms, the aggravated economic crisis and the increase in repression experienced by Cubans in recent years have led to several protests, which reached a climax on July 11, 2021. After that date, the courts sentenced hundreds to long jail sentences with the clear objective of intimidating opponents. However, the repression has not been able to contain peoples’ discontent, who from time to time make pots and pans rattle or cry out for freedom throughout the length and breadth of the Island.

Read more from Cuba here on Havana Times

One thought on “Internet Cuts and Riot Troops Repress Protesters in Cuba

  • May 7, 2023 at 11:45 pm

    Although lying quiet for decades, pressures can build up within volcanoes, the without much warning, they erupt! When that occurs, nothing can repress them!

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