EFor the first time in years, large numbers of demonstrators against the socialist government have taken to the streets in Cuba. Especially in the village of San Antonio de los Baños, southwest of the capital Havana, numerous people protested on Sunday against the economy of shortages and oppression, as could be seen on videos published on social networks. There were also demonstrations in Havana and the cities of Holguín, Matanzas, Camagüey and Santiago de Cuba.
President Miguel Díaz-Canel went to San Antonio de los Baños himself and addressed the Cubans on state television. "We will not give up the sovereignty and independence of this nation," said the First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party. "If you want to defeat the revolution, you have to go over our corpses."
According to government opponents, security forces took action against the demonstrators on Sunday. "We call on all revolutionaries to take to the streets and defend the revolution in all places," said Díaz-Canel.
Massive protests against the socialist government are rare in authoritarian Cuba. Recently, however, oppositional artists of the so-called San Isidro movement had repeatedly brought people onto the streets and also attracted international attention. The musicians Descemer Bueno, Yotuel Romero and the Duo Gente de Zona showed their solidarity with the movement with their song “Patria y Vida” (Fatherland and Life).
It was only in April that President Miguel Díaz-Canel took over the leadership of the Communist Party (PCC) from Raúl Castro. For the first time since the revolution of 1959, the socialist Caribbean island is no longer ruled by a Castro. However, the change at the top of the party did not go hand in hand with political liberalization. In everyday life, most Cubans also suffer from the consequences of the Cuban planned economy and the US economic embargo.