Protests in a Barrio with Proven Pro-Government Credentials

After more than 100 hours without electricity in the wake of Hurricane Ian, only few lights could be seen in our community. (14ymedio)

What happened in Nuevo Vedado, Havana, should be interpreted as a sign that it is necessary to better calibrate the countdown

By Reinaldo Escobar (14ymedio)

HAVANA TIMES – The night of Saturday, October 1, 2022 will be remembered in our Havana neighborhood of Nuevo Vedado as the moment we came to think of ourselves as protestors. After more than 100 hours without electricity in the wake of Hurricane Ian, only few lights could be seen in our community. In addition to numerous individual private homes, the blackout impacted multi-family buildings of twelve, fourteen and twenty-four floors, the equivalent of 5,000 people by conservative estimates.

At 9:00 PM, the exact same time that a few months ago people went out onto the balconies of these buildings to applaud the health care workers who were battling the Covid-19 pandemic, one could hear the first recognizable shot being fired: the shy, almost casual sound of someone banging a metal pot. It was like the fuse that sets off an explosion of long-repressed desire. For an hour and a half the sounds continued. Government skeptics confirmed there were many who participated; officials feared there were too many.

Most of those who obtained homes in these buildings, products of the micro-brigade system,* had to go through a rigorous screening process to determine if they had a distinguished revolutionary background. Housing distribution regulations called for applicants to be judged on how many “labor and social merits” they had earned. Inspectors also secretly noted if these applicants kept religious images in their homes or maintained relations with relatives overseas.

This meant that being a member of the Communist Party or the Young Communist League, having spent time in an overseas mission or holding an official leadership position was considerably more advantageous than having three, seven or even ten years of hands-on construction experience.

More than forty years have passed since residents of some of these buildings went through the process of acquiring their homes. In one 144-unit structure, 52 of the original owners have died, 47 have moved elsewhere and 15 have emigrated (not counting their children). Among those still living in the building who acquired their units on the basis of “labor and social” merit, the average age is 73 years.

It is true that residents were only calling for the power be turned back on. No one was heard shouting “Freedom!” or demanding those in power step down, as occurred in other neighborhoods in the capital. Still, the protest was massive and effective. Six hours later, electrical service was restored. And by dawn we were no longer the same.

If what happened in our neighborhood is an indication of what has happened in the country, if this small area is like a biopsy that indicates a broader malaise in other areas, it should be taken as a sign of the need to adjust the countdown, the one that will end the anomaly in which we live.

*Translator’s note: a form of collective, self-help construction.

Translated by Translating Cuba


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14 thoughts on “Protests in a Barrio with Proven Pro-Government Credentials

  • Nick liberating the Cuban ppl from this horrible 63 years nightmare you are calling it narrow ambition. Despite how hard you try to dodge an answer and come out as supportive of the Cuban dictatorship. You do not have any problems condemning the bew government in Poland that after all was elected by the n majority of the polish ppl you don’t want to gave a. semantics argument about Cuba but always to condemn right wing government. Typical of the left.

  • Olga,
    I am glad that you are able to come straight out and say that you’d like to see killing in order to achieve your narrow ambition.
    As regards semantics. You can describe Cuba however you like.
    Horrible Dictatorship?
    I’m not going to argue with you regarding semantics.
    I would say Cuba has a lot of problems not helped by poor governance. Like a whole bunch of countries in this world.
    But however bad Cuba may be……….
    Olga, you are infinitely worse with your killing plans.

  • Nick let me tell you this if they don’t delete. An invasion to the military forces of the most horrendous dictatorship (and longer) would be great It won’t last more the 24 hours. And finally in a year Cuba can have free elections with multi political parties. Freedom and Democracy is what I want. But please. Answer my question do you think Cuba is a horrible dictatorship? I hope me answer satisfied you.

  • Olga ,
    Do you wish to change your mind?
    Have you decided that you no longer want the USA to launch a military attack on Cuba?
    ¿Or are you still Putineska?

  • Anti Imperialist……
    Congrats. It’s good to see that some of your own viewpoints have been coaxed out.
    FYI – I have stated on an infinite number of occasions that I am 100% in favour of people having the right to peaceful protest.

  • The.Cuban people suffer to keep the utopia dream of anti USA “socialism” for some dated old leftists dream alive. They travel the world, read any books or publications, vote in free elections, speak theirs mind about anything, live in free markets democracies but they not want for Cubans to have what they have. The Cuban dictatorship has the excuse that the garbage can not get collected because there is not Gas due to the embargo. But they have plenty gas to transport young men from the eastern part of the island to the west in caravan to hit theirs fellows Cubans who dare to ask for freedom with sticks. Thanks God not Cuban believe this horrendous dictatorship. I had dare Nick, Dan Curt, and others that usually justify the Cuban regime to call by its name Dictatorship but they always dodged the subject with nonsenses

  • Nick you said “I don’t recall Anti Imperialist ever putting forward any opinions of his or her own.”
    Here are some that you could have gathered from earlier comments but apparently you didn’t.

    1) I have always opposed the US embargo and all attempts of the US to be the policeman of the world. In Cuba, or anywhere. However, Cubans must continue to live with the US embargo, it is out of their hands and is in the Republicans hands. Neither Anti-imperialist or Nick is going to change that.

    2) This means that the internal decisions should be geared to Cubans resolving as many Cuba problems as possible. The big ones like food and energy, medicines, housing and transportation. To date they have failed at all of these and it is from repeating variations on failed policies not from the US embargo. Many billions from the Soviet Union, later Venezuela, and loans from a host of European and other countries willing to give Cuba the credit the US will not, were squandered and often the debts not repaid.

    3) The Cuban government uses the embargo as a catch all excuse for all the ineffective policies and inefficient government on most all levels. From the garbage piling up on street corners to the never-ending blackouts. At this point in time it sounds like a broken record. Maybe after a hundred years in power they will begin to formulate better policies? From your logic Nick, since the US embargo exists, citizens should put up or shut up if they don’t want jail, or better yet for the government, leave the country and send home remittances.

    4) The Cuban government, in power for 63 years, does not allow freedom of speech, press, association, economic freedom and numerous other human rights. It holds fake elections where only one party controls all participation. Likewise, in the Constitution, the Communist Party leaders have the power to override the Constitution by law. Citizens have absolutely no recourse.

    5) The Cuban State uses REPRESSION of many types to stifle all dissenting voices on any government policy, no matter how failed or ill conceived. This Repression includes beatings, arbitrary arrests, torture, fabricated charges, closed trials, and long prison sentences or banishment from the country, for even daring to voice opposition of any government policy or politicians in public or on social networks. Peaceful protest is tantamount to sedition in the eyes of the rulers and their party.

  • I don’t recall Anti Imperialist ever putting forward any opinions of his or her own.
    I only recall Anti Imperialist putting forward tirades toward the opinions of others.
    And these tirades are only ever toward those who do not support the. USA’s spiteful and puny little policies toward Cuba.

  • Mr. AI, your rebuttals to my comments are making absolutely no sense at all. The answers to your questions are contained in my statements. I made a typo error when I said the sanctions only hurt the Cuban government. I meant to say they only hurt the Cuban people, not the government. And anyone with even a little common sense should realize that it is not up to the US spending taxpayer dollars to instill regime change in Cuba, hoping the people will use the money to overthrow the government. It hasn’t worked in 60 years and sorry. I t will NEVER HAPPEN. All that money has been wasted! Face it! Even if the government is overthrown tomorrow, there will never be agreement on how to run Cuba. Everyone, including myself thought Russia would be free after Gorbachev kissed up to Reagan and and broke up the Soviet Union and they elected the dictator Putin. Look where Russia is now and he still has significant support among the Russian people. You are living in a fantasy world.

  • Curt, your said: “I have constantly told her that I am not an advocate for the current Cuban government.”
    But I must admit you sure go out of your way to justify all the repressive things they do. That aside, what are the things of the Cuban government that you don’t like?

    “My main beef is the ridiculous sanctions against the government, which only hurt the Cuban government.” I oppose the embargo too but its not going anywhere. Is there nothing Cubans can do to better their own situation embargo or not?

    “I also don’t like my hard earned tax dollars being used to support the opposition, who are a bunch of loudmouths and no better than the government.” It would be interesting to know who you are talking about and whether any protesting Cuban falls in that sack. Should people put up or shut up if they have criticisms? Or leave for the US?

  • Nick and Da n, talking to Olga is like talking to a brick wall. She is an anti Cuban government militant, just like the dissidents inside Cuba and the hardliners in Miami and New Jersey. Don’t waste your time communicating with her. I have constantly told her that I am not an advocate for the current Cuban government. My main beef is the ridiculous sanctions against the government, which only hurt the Cuban government. I also don’t like my hard earned tax dollars being used to support the opposition, who are a bunch of loudmouths and no better than the government. I am also very much against Cubans being given preferential treatment at the US border, while many of those from other countries fleeing much worse circumstances.

  • Olga – I guess you haven’t noticed, but I long ago have stopped reading HT. Nothing ever changes here and the editor started selectively not publishing my posts. My greetings to Curt and Nick for soldiering on and trying to bring to bear some measure of objectivity, reason and history. I thought about you a few days ago though. It was the anniversary of the Posada Carilles Cubana flight bombing. I’m pretty confident that although you’ll deny it, you had a cay or something to celebrate the date.

  • Hello Olga,
    I can see that again you have made yet another mistake in reference to me.
    I am highly critical of ‘the Revolution’ and the governance of Cuba. I wish to see opportunities improve for my loved ones and every one else in Cuba. I am also highly critical of the governance of many other parts of the world. Unfortunately many parts of the world have grave problems caused by poor governance and injustice.
    Perhaps I would be most critical of people such as yourself who would like to see others killed in order to achieve your narrow ambitions.
    You have stated quite clearly in previous comments that you would like to see the USA launch a military invasion of Cuba.
    So therefore I am very critical of you Olga in the same way that I am very critical of the likes of Vladimir Putin.

  • Only people likes the Nick, Curt and Dans of the world still believe in the so called revolution.

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