Cuba, Power Outages, and Protests

Blackout in Havana. File photo

HAVANA TIMES – The critical energy situation in Cuba has intensified power outages in recent weeks, resulting in protests in various parts of the country.

The shutdown of the Antonio Guiteras thermoelectric plant in Matanzas, the largest in the country, caused power cuts even in the capital, where the Communist Party of Cuba is doing everything possible to prevent them due to the potential danger of a genuine popular uprising.

It was a couple of tense weeks during which Havana suffered minor disruptions, nothing compared to most of the Cuban population, which still lacks electricity for more than 12 hours every day, while in the city, the maximum was six hours during those 15 days, and never consecutive.

Alongside the protests, the streets dawned with signs demanding Freedom. However, they were immediately erased as for that there was fuel, paint, and all the necessary forces from the Ministry of the Interior (MININT), the Armed Forces (FAR), or State Security.

Graffiti on a wall is considered by the powers that be more serious than solving the problem of bread production, nonexistent outside of Havana throughout this month, or the eternal garbage dump in front of that same wall. They can reach there, but they seem uninterested in the threat of diseases; to them, the message on the wall is more dangerous.

The last straw was when the Electric Company of Mayabeque reported on its official networks that it couldn’t restore electricity service in the municipality of Santa Cruz del Norte “due to transportation problems.” The surreal explanation itself would have been enough to keep it as a souvenir, but it’s another example that the priority is not to improve the standard of living in Cuba, but to sustain the power elite at all costs.

Let’s remember that during the December session of the Parliament, Alejandro Gil, former Minister of Economy and Planning, acknowledged that it wouldn’t be possible to achieve the projected growth in 2023, but it would be in 2024. Really?

After the fall of the Socialist Bloc in the early 1990s, the US blockade gained much more importance and became the most commonly used justification, responsible for the continuing decrease in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) compared to the previous year

They do not acknowledge that they own everything in Cuba and as such, they are responsible for everything that happens because if you can’t guarantee something, you shouldn’t assume that responsibility. Nobody told them they were the masters and lords of the thermoelectric plants, gas stations, transportation, or food. They must be accountable for the services they unilaterally took on.

With all the repercussions of the diesel and gasoline cost increase, several streets filled with protesters, especially in Santiago de Cuba, in District 3, which unleashed the visit of the highest authorities of the territory with their usual evasiveness, and the result was that they began to distribute powdered milk and other basic rationed products.

It’s another example that Cuba is not an exception on this planet, and when people unite, governments tremble, even a dictatorship.

The story is always the same, stretching the rope until the last moment because the Cuban citizen is so unaccustomed to protesting that they endure a thousand times more than anyone else in this world.

It doesn’t matter that the cries were for Freedom! (there are videos circulating on social media), it’s about gaining time by offering crumbs, which in essence are no more than what they themselves have established for each Cuban, with total disregard for a family’s life.

“Now we have those resources available,” said the Communist Party leader in Santiago, Beatriz Jhonson. What a coincidence that the products appeared two hours after the protests erupted? Were they available or not? The worst part is that it’s not the first occasion, and unfortunately, perhaps not the last either.

The leader told national television that there was respect in that exchange, but she didn’t refer to the intimidating presence of the repressive forces (red berets) that passed in front of her while she was on a rooftop trying to explain the inexplicable. People began to shout “Murderers!” in her face; it didn’t really seem like a normal conversation, I don’t know what the reader of these lines might think.

With three pounds of rice and four pounds of brown sugar, they solved the problem, and our beloved Miguel Diaz-Canel will continue to tell the world that they don’t let him govern in peace and that the population supports him.

At 65 years old, it’s not enough to realize that the applied formula is not adequate; the treatment for the disease remains the same, even if the symptoms worsen and the pains increase, the doctor will not change the method, and the patient continues to agonize.

Seeing the speck in someone else’s eye is always easier than recognizing one’s own faults, and meanwhile, time is being gained. That’s why Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez (overshadowed for months) reappeared blaming the US government for the protests, which, by the way, were peaceful, and censoring a message from the US Embassy in Havana that couldn’t have been softer.

This is how the communist countries of Europe changed course; it wasn’t an invasion or war, it was the people themselves who broke their chains and refused to continue being dominated.

Since it can’t be denied from Parliament for anyone to use their cell phone to record a protest and upload it later when they have a connection, the reality can’t be hidden any more as it was in previous decades.

As soon as the first demonstrations came to light, they were replicated in Miami, where many Cubans showed their support for their compatriots from a distance, a gesture that shouldn’t be overlooked, even if there are hundreds of kilometers of separation.

The power of the people has yet to really test the current government, it has barely been hinted at. When it truly manifests, things will change drastically.

Read more from Cuba here on Havana Times.

6 thoughts on “Cuba, Power Outages, and Protests

  • Very interesting comments & the reality of Cuba is everything operates Ass Backwards for a reason, Control over the people, that is very difficult for a Canadian to except until we have lived with Cubanos as a Cuban. There is more fertile land going to waste & Cubans are Hungry, ask to why & realize there is Nothing a Canadian can Do about that, unless you want to start a civil war.

  • Attention Stephen Webster:

    “Immigration Minister Marc Miller said Thursday the federal government is looking to shrink temporary residents’ share of Canada’s population over the next three years. Miller said temporary residents made up 6.2 per cent of Canada’s population in 2023, and the government is working to reduce that share to five per cent by 2027”. (CBC News, Thursday, March 21, 2024).

    The Canadian government is working to “reduce” temporary foreign workers entering Canada and not as you want, and insist, increase the number. Can you not understand federal government policy? Seems no. What is it about “shrink” and “reduce “ you fail to understand?

    Edify yourself with current Canadian news about Canadian Immigration policies. Open your mind to what is occurring in current Canadian politics. You preach like those antiquated communist ideologues who absolutely refuse to accept reason and refuse to enter the 21st century.

    Your nonsensical writing borders on the incredulous and frankly is an embarrassment for Canadians.

    Stephen, reread elmar fudd’s post regarding your, as he states in his words, not mine, “lame brain comment” attributed to you regarding your initial post. Take note.

  • Attention Stephen Canada has a really huge housing problem I and others have been pushing for a max of a 8 month work permit from April to Nov for foreign truck drivers and people to work in construction. . Cuban gov has asked for a lot of skim milk powder over 2000 tones to be given to . The taxpayers deserve something in return
    Canada has lots of dried milk powder and dried whole eggs and off color beans that the cunan people could eat
    Canada is short over 500 000 housing units and the gov of Canada has bought or leased many hotels to put refugees and the homeless at a ave cost of $200 day per person in Toronto Windsor and Vancouver
    We ( Canada ) need more workers with skills in construction ( to fix up ) and build housing
    I and many others also are tired of the number of people that claim to be refugees and live in a gov hotel that seem to have no ability to get a job . We ( Canada ) need to encourage the refugee men and others who are living in gov paid for or gov owned hotels or gov owned housing to be put in a work camp in units of a max of 11 people each ( with one person from prison one or 2 refugees one person from gov housing or a homeless shelter and 1 or 2 supervisor from Canada and 3 or 4 skilled trade people one of which knows some English
    Canada did this after Ww2 with many P O W after they got their freedom and people from Estonia and Poland that escape my grandmother often had 16 to 20 people that used a very house that was built as a hospital for their staging area with private and gov support
    So I know it can be done
    They could put up at ( rate of 3 a week at cost of $2400 each plus lor in 1947)and frame a a house.using 4 different plans supplied by the gov.

  • Stephen Webster for your information and edification: Immigration Minister Marc Miller said Thursday the federal government is looking to shrink temporary residents’ share of Canada’s population over the next three years. (CBC News, Thursday, March 21, 2024). That means fewer foreign workers will legally be allowed to enter Canada. The operative word there is “shrink”.

    And you, Stephen, are spouting the exact opposite of official Canadian government policy. Your absolute, unequivocal idiotic “solution” suggesting “ CUBA needs to offer to Canada people to build housing and key infrastructure in return for the workers to get half the wages they earn and the other half in products like skim milk powder dried egg powder and wheat and fertilizer . . . “ is outrageous to say the least.

    Before you suggest simplistic so called silly “solutions”, educate yourself with what is really going on in Canada and also in Cuba.

    In terms of Cuba, do you really believe Cubans, or any entrant to Cuba or any other country for that matter, can appear at Cuban airport Customs with, as you suggest, “earnings” like skim milk powder, dried egg powder, wheat and fertilizer? In your mind, do you actually think Cubans coming home from abroad – like Canada – would be allowed to enter Cuba with these restricted items in their suitcases or otherwise? You certainly have no concept or idea how airport Customs operate.

    Have you ever been to Cuban Customs? Even an apple in your Canadian carryon luggage will not pass as it will be ceased. So much for your “earnings” in non cash Cuban Customs restricted remuneration.

    Cuba needs realistic sensible solutions for its impoverished economic stagnation. Canada is always there to help, but with again – realistic sensible solutions.

  • Canada !! give me a break – Cuba supports Russia against Ukraine and this lame brain comment far side logic! “CUBA needs to offer to Canada people to build housing and key infrastructure in return for the workers to get half the wages they earn and the other half in products like skim milk powder dried egg powder and wheat and fertilizer and solar panels from China I do nor see a another good solution”
    Why Canada? Why not some communists country?

  • The gov should have made changes 40 years ago. Many people come to work in Canada for 6 to 8 months li
    In the summer live in bunk house and tents or trailers to work in agriculture or or construction from countries like Mexico or Jamaica. The workers use those wages for materials to build homes or to improve their farms or small businesses often by bringing back used items from ont
    Cuba has had no long-term plan to upgrade electric systems and water quality in all parts of Cuba but instead money from tourists and relatives in the U S and income from medical workers. I will take heat for this but I also see too many of the people in the last 10 yrs who come to Canada from certain parts of the world with a much different work ethic than those that came post ww2 . Companies like W WALMART will not make the country better look at the Costco model and farm co ops like H D C and Gaylea for help and direction and some of the better run companies in China and Europe as well as India and Mexico
    We also have a problem in United States with too much of the power in too few people control but anyone does have the freedom to try to make changes for the better or worse. CUBA needs to offer to Canada people to build housing and key infrastructure in return for the workers to get half the wages they earn and the other half in products like skim milk powder dried egg powder and wheat and fertilizer and solar panels from China I do nor see a another good solution

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