What's Happening in Cuba? Why People are Protesting?

17 Jul 2021  Read 6712 Views

Cuba is a small and content place known for its peace which is best retained even in the most extreme circumstances. However, lately, the headlines have been flooding with the news of state of distress which Cuba and its people have been out through. 

In fact, Sunday has been noted as the day with the most protests happening all over the place. A dozen of these protestors have been put to arrest to and the others have been silenced through forces and authorities.

The type of Economy which prevails in the Cuban lines is ‘command’ in nature. In the command economies the government is the central authority which has the power to regulate the productions, the functioning of the industries, resources required to carry on the businesses of such industries and also their ownership. 

A considerate group of individuals had the ownership to the majority portion of the land of Cuba which happens to be very limited since Cuba is an island. This group also owned the major part of the industries and the wealth that was part of Cuba. It was after the revolution that had taken place that this ownership slipped to the authorities and as a result of that, the societies were well-established and the economy was expanded and eventually the goal was reached.

However, after the authority rule was set-up in Cuba that led to another issue that is monopoly rule of the government in handling and managing a major part of the industries. Due to that, there was a rise in bureaucratic rule and inapt management, and that eventually results in the shortage of the amenities like grains, rice, etc and if available, then at higher cost. This entire situation adds up to the problems and gives rise to these current protests.

What are these protests for?

The news of a lot of these protestors being tried is indubitable but what is it that made them to take such measures, fighting for their rights? It is their way of addressing the failure on the part of the Authorities and Government in overcoming the entire Pandemic situation. Corona virus has been spreading its wings all around the world, in different-different forms and waves, and the governments all around have been taking all the necessary measures to overcome the situation, however, according to these protestors, the Cuban Government has failed miserably in performing its part. 

The protestors have also complained of the collapsing economy of the country and on the other hand, shortage of basic amenities like food or medicines. Cuba had been declared to be a communist state, almost decades ago, which is a Christian-majority state with a GDP of 100 billion. Lately, a lot of factors and elements have hit the place which in a combined manner, have hit the country altogether. So, in addition to corona and its effects, another major element that stuck Cuba is a few administrative orders which were put on it by the then President of US i.e. Donald Trump which hit the economy of the country in a severe way. And as a result of that, since then, there have been shortage of amenities like Rice, medicines, etc.

Reports tell that Cuba has never seen protests like these in its entire history and that too during the downfall of the economy of the country. The intensity of the protests could be made of the fact that the protestors have been announcing “freedom-freedom” through their slogans. Apparently, this freedom is being demanded against the current President of the country i.e. Miguel Diaz. In other words, demanding for his resignation. 

The demand for the President to step down is in relation to the failure of providing of basic amenities, grains, partial blackouts that people have been facing, and overall, the government not being successful to take the necessary measures to overcome the situation. 

‘Tourism’ has also been one of the most contributory factor towards uplifting the economy, however, due to pandemic, the Cuban tourism has also hit the tourism terribly and its contribution has come down to a large extent. And so, the tourism administration has gone down to a large extent and so has the administration, hotels and restaurants and other related intermediaries too.

America’s take on the situation

The current President of America i.e. Joe Biden, has also addressed this entire distress that Cuba has been going through currently. He says, “We are here standing with the people of Cuba and their clarion call for freedom and relief from this grip of the Pandemic which is tragic along with the years and years of repression and economic suppression which has been caused due to Cuban Authorities.

Current scenario

The surprising fact about the situation is that these protests have surfaced the country right after the country had announced the manufacture of its very own vaccine i.e. Soberana which means ‘sovereign’ with a productivity of almost 91% as tested upon the patients and derived under the trial.

The Cuban Government had decided to not import the vaccines from any other country and in the meanwhile they have been using their own experimental vaccines for curing Covid. There are vaccines other than Soberana which are currently in use in Cuba and as a result, almost 1.5 million people of the country have been vaccinated. However, these vaccines have yet to be approved by the authorities and if approved, they would be first of its kind vaccines from a Latin-American country. 

The Cuban President has instructed his supporters to ‘confront’ these protests and the protestors. Although the government has alleged to have taken the steps that are required to address this entire situation, but the results of it are yet to be discovered or witnessed. The Cuban Government had given the businesses in its jurisdiction the signal to carry on their functions with a view to their increased contribution to the national economy. The labour ministry has also taken steps to overcome the situation which is why the licensed industries have shoot up to almost 1700 in number. And with the implementations of the reforms these little scale businesses have been anticipated to widen up to a great extent.

About the Author: Shalu Singh | 18 Post(s)

Shalu Shravan Singh, currently a final year law student, and quite enamoured of writing. A music aficionado that’s also a wanderer and desires to visit more of these places.

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