Photo by ipanacea/Shutterstock
Source: On Cuba News
Social protests began in Cuba on July 11 (J-11), 2021. They gradually spread from San Antonio de los Baños (Artemisa province) and Palma Soriano (Santiago de Cuba province) to other parts of the country. Digital traces show that social networks played a main but not exclusive role in this process; they had a kind of contagion effect from one territory to another or were directly convened. Thus what happened was quickly known outside of Cuba through “direct” networks and the viralization of content in personal profiles and unofficial foreign press media.
An unmanageable amount of information circulated and circulates on the networks that quickly became a skein difficult to process. Fake news with bits of truth and lies also started coming out. The spectacular logic and confrontation with the fake news was the price to pay for accessing the information via citizen journalism. Meanwhile, the official media exclusively reported the line of government discourse.
To date, the government speaks of “riots” while others of “social outbreak,” like the popular uprisings in Latin America during 2019, 2020, 2021. Call it an outbreak or not, what happened in Cuba spreads over the region. No one has been silent. And the fact is that the country’s politics continues to be a watershed in the imaginations, drives, programs and political arguments in Cuba, Latin America and the world.
Innumerable artists, influencers, intellectuals and politicians of different signs have spoken out. From the neo-conservative Agustín Laje — who has uttered a diatribe about what he calls “the myth of the blockade” of the United States against Cuba and has said that in Cuba “a homeland has awakened” against the “left” — to Residente (Calle 13 ), Noam Chomsky, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Frei Betto, Ignacio Ramonet, Claudia Corol, Gerardo Pissarello, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak and a very long list.
In the international arena, Cuba awakens polar passions that are, it must be said, caricatures. Some state outright that the social protests of the past days are exclusively a U.S. plot amplified by the media’s show, and that the only certainty of these days is that there is an attack against the Cuban Revolution. Others celebrate the “end of the dictatorship” and/or see how their prophecies of the “end of the regime” are coming true through those who demonstrated. There are also, it is fair to admit, attempts at creating problems and critical accompaniment.
From Cuba — the one inside and the one outside the island — the plot is more intense and complex. And it is that our material, spiritual, political and moral life depends on it. For the government, the protests were an instrument of destabilization of counterrevolutionaries, directed from the United States, who took advantage of and manipulated the discontent of people with unsatisfied needs or confused groups. For a part of the people, those days were a mistake because they exacerbate the crisis that the country is experiencing. Other voices, diverse within them, defend the urgency of an — improbable — humanitarian and/or military intervention to solve the crisis of shortage of medicines and food and have extoled the demonstrations, many times from outside Cuba, as a fulfillment of their own aspirations. They do not want dialogue with the government and, at their increasingly audible extremes, they warn that what has to be done is “killing the communists”; they make lists of “government officials,” “disgusting communists” or anyone who does not meet their political standards.
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