July 29, 2021

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This is what the historic anti-government protests in Cuba look like

Anti-government protests erupted in Cuba this week over lack of access to basic food and medical supplies, amid an increase in COVID cases.

The country has suffered from massive inflation and protracted blackouts as longstanding US sanctions restricting access to basic goods and finance and decades of government corruption and mismanagement were exacerbated by the drop in tourism during the pandemic. .

The protests began on Sunday and quickly spread across the country as thousands of Cubans are frustrated with hunger and a shortage of basic supplies. “Our children are dying of hunger,” shouts a protester in a video posted on Facebook. Another Twitter video appeared to show protesters calling for “change the system”.

The protests are the biggest in recent memory and government forces, which are generally quick to crack down on the demonstrations, initially struggled to maintain control. Some musicians, who along with the artists faced repression for speaking out, also issued statements in support of the protesters.

Intermittent internet disruptions and harassment and detention of journalists have made it difficult to verify events on the ground, however photos and videos have emerged showing police and plainclothes officers beating protesters with batons and appearing to shoot at them. At least one person was killed and Amnesty International said at least 150 others were reported missing and may have been arrested.

Although the government appears to have softened its position slightly by lifting a tax on the import of goods to the island, it may not be enough to quell the protests. “No, we don’t want the crumbs. We want freedom. The blood did not flow into the Cuban streets in order to import some more suitcases, “tweeted the blogger and critic of the government Yoaní Sanchez.

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This post originally published here BuzzFeed News

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