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Yenisel Rodriguez Perez: I have lived in Cuba my entire life, except for several months in 2013 when I was in Miami with my father. Despite the 90 miles that separate Havana and Miami, I find profound reasons in both for political and community activism. My encounter with socio-cultural anthropology eight years ago prepared me for a commitment of love for cultural diversity.

Protest in Havana’s Santos Suarez Neighborhood

September 14, 2017 | Print Print |

Yenisel Rodriguez

Foto: Facebook

HAVANA TIMES — After four days without electricity, hundreds of residents from the Santos Suarez neighborhood took to the street in protest on Thursday.

Government representatives were unsuccessful in their attempts to silence the protest, giving excuses to over 500 people. Protesters continued to shout slogans like “people have the power”, “lights, water and food”, “strike”.

Police units were mobilized. Dozens of black berets (special troops) and vehicles were deployed and headed towards to the protest.

To many people’s surprise, the protesters moved directly at the repressive unit, outraged when they saw that they were being dealt with as if they were criminals. The special forces withdrew in the face of everyone’s jeering.

Word began to spread that the protest would gain greater dimensions if electricity services weren’t reestablished by 6 PM.

Then, at 3 p.m., electricity was restored, but many people were still out on the street. Government representatives could take a deep breath and the police forces began to joke around with those people who were still waiting.

People are talking about a people’s victory and many infected with the enthusiasm that the direct use of neighborhood power transmits. Some people are beginning to call it the “Santos Suarez incident”.


What's your opinion?

  • Carlyle MacDuff

    This could be the thin edge of a wedge. Imagine citizens in Cuba taking to the streets without as usual being organized by the PCC on behalf of the regime!
    What plans will be instigated by MININT to prevent recurrence?
    Is this a crack of light appearing over the horizon?

    • Nick

      Difficult times on the island of Cuba. Loss of life in double figures; rebuilding required that will cost multi-millions; the neighbourhood of Santos Suarez demanding electricity; my beloved neighbourhood of Cayo Hueso spending days underwater etc…
      But old Mr MacD sees a silver lining to the current cloudy outlook:
      This could be the dawn of a new Cuban era. We could be heading for the type of cut-throat, neo liberalist paradise that Mr MacD can’t stop dreaming about….
      To paraphrase Will Shakespeare: ‘Dream on MacD….’

      • Carlyle MacDuff

        I understand Nick, that the thought of Cubans potentially eventually achieving freedom from the bonds of communism is counter to your perception of the way that things ought to be. But you personally although taking holidays in Cuba, prefer to shelter in a capitalist country. I also undrerstand that “neo-liberalism” is the current slur upon those who seek freedom of expression rather than conformity to dictatorship. If not a supporter of “socialism” we are all labelled as being “neo-liberals”.
        Given the choice I know that I prefer individual freedom and opportunity to partake in multi-party elections. For you obviously you would prefer your own country to be governed by Jeremy Corbyn, he who supports Nicholas Maduro and the Castro regime.
        But, as one who believes in freedom of choice, I support you having yours.

        • Nick

          You still see the world based on Cold War divisions .
          However, the tune has changed and your lyrics no longer fit.
          I would wish to see positive changes in Cuba. I do not currently live there so it won’t be for me to help decide what form these changes take.
          The real threat these days is very right wing and overt capitalism and it’s inevitable crossover with the far right. This phenomenon was dangerous in the 1930s and led to the catastrophe with which we are all familiar. It is proving to be dangerous once again. It also causes appalling levels of mystery and inequality in many parts of the world.
          I, for one, would certainly not wish to see Cuba suddenly lurch in this direction.
          It strikes me that you would see such a ‘lurch’ as positive. You appear to use every opportunity to promote such a ‘lurch’ even the opportunity afforded by the deadly Hurricane Irma.

          • Carlyle MacDuff

            Unlike you Nick, I do not see things in extremes. You speak of “catastrophe”, but that applies as evidenced, even more to communism than to extreme capitalism. Yes, I would like to see change in Cuba from communist repression to freedom of expression and multi-party elections. I think it highly likely that if such elections were held following a period providing opportunity for information and explanation to be available, that a government leaning more to the ‘left’ than to the the ‘right’ would be elected but it would be democratic.
            I think that it self evident that I have more faith in the good sense of the people of Cuba to be able to find their own solutions -if given the freedom so to do, than you.
            Cuba has in the last seventy years experienced the two extremes of first right wing and then communist dictatorship and the evils of both. But Nick, there is lots of room for moderate alternatives.
            Irma did not change or amend the politics of Cuba one whit.

  • Gerard Matthews

    Is this a sign of things to come? The Cuban people have had enough Mr Castro has not managed to improve the living standards of the Cuban People. I bet he is not without electricity or other everyday essentials! Mr Castro the worm( Cuban people) have had more than enough of this prolonged Austerity! The Tourists eat off the fat of the land whilst the Cuban people cannot even get a little fat! Just be careful of the governments strong arm tactics!