Is something big happening in Cuba?
Since 1959, the Caribbean island nation has lived under a one-party Communist/Socialist state.
Freedom and individual liberties are severely restricted, and poverty is widespread across the country.
In past years, Cubans have risked their lives fleeing to the United States in shark-infested waters.
And the 1994 Maleconazo Uprising saw violent protests in the streets.
In response to the corruption and incompetence of the communist regime, thousands of Cubans hit the streets in massive protests.
Riots started in cities across the country and it’s turning into the biggest resistance to the regime in nearly 30 years.
Check out the footage:
Frustration with the dictatorships incompetence,greed & repression is mounting rapidly pic.twitter.com/eSAr8Xrxpf
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) July 11, 2021
#Cuba Brutal repression in Santa Clara as police unleash a wave of massive arrests across the island to crush peaceful pro democracy protests and forcefully impose a dictatorship clinging on to power despite oppression, & humanitarian catastrophe.#Canada #HumanRights #SOSCuba pic.twitter.com/hi3nXcniGB
— Michael Lima Cuadra (@ngotranslations) July 12, 2021
— Jake Hanrahan (@Jake_Hanrahan) July 12, 2021
Something big could finally be happening Cuba, as tens of thousands have taken to the streets to protest the communist regime saying, “We are not afraid!” 🇨🇺 🙏 pic.twitter.com/2O90dvjtmF
— Ron Filipkowski (@RonFilipkowski) July 11, 2021
In some parts of the country, police and special forces have taken the People's side and joined the protests
This is the beginning of the end for this Tyrannical rule @DiazCanelB is the latest puppet from the monsters who've forced Cuba to endure such suffering since 1959 pic.twitter.com/do2Agjz7rf
— Chex🇨🇺 #VivaCubaLibre #cannabisneando (@our_chex) July 12, 2021
I have been covering Cuba since the 1994 rafter crisis. I have never ever seen anything like the protests today. https://t.co/h8Ukuvpfp3
— Frances Robles (@FrancesRobles) July 11, 2021
— María Elvira Salazar 🇺🇸 (@MaElviraSalazar) July 12, 2021
What we’re seeing on the streets of Cuba is important and inspiring. It takes courage to protest against a repressive authoritarian regime.
— Archive: U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy (@RepStephMurphy) July 12, 2021
WATCH: American Flags Fly High As Cubans Protest Communist Dictatorship, "We Are Not Afraid!"https://t.co/RmjuLcUM6q
— OutKick (@Outkick) July 12, 2021
I stand with the ordinary people of Cuba who are bravely risking their lives to protest the communist dictatorship that has oppressed them for decades.
— US Rep Brendan Boyle (@RepBrendanBoyle) July 12, 2021
— The Hill (@thehill) July 12, 2021
Historic protests against communism and tyranny in Cuba taking place simultaneously with Biden arriving in PA to willfully interfere in a legal audit of the 2020 election.
— George Papadopoulos (@GeorgePapa19) July 12, 2021
Thousands of Cubans took part in rare protests Sunday against the communist government, chanting, "Down with the dictatorship," as President Miguel Diaz-Canel called on his supporters to confront the demonstrators, by @AFP's @tellka in Havana https://t.co/02tz3DspUn
— Jerome Taylor (@JeromeTaylor) July 12, 2021
The conflict could get extremely ugly as some outlets show pro-regime counter-protestors:
Cubans chant "I am Fidel!", as thousands flood the streets in defense of the revolution. pic.twitter.com/dAqyPRiYm2
— Kawsachun News (@KawsachunNews) July 12, 2021
Chanting “freedom” and calling for President Miguel Diaz-Canel to step down, thousands of Cubans joined street protests from Havana to Santiago on Sunday in the biggest anti-government demonstrations on the Communist-run island in decades.
The protests erupted amid Cuba’s worst economic crisis since the fall of the Soviet Union, its old ally, and a record surge in coronavirus infections, with people voicing anger over shortages of basic goods, curbs on civil liberties and the authorities’ handling of the pandemic.
Thousands took to the streets in various parts of Havana including the historic centre, their shouts of “Diaz-Canel step down” drowning out groups of government supporters waving the Cuban flag and chanting “Fidel.”
Special forces jeeps, with machine guns mounted on the back were seen throughout the capital and the police presence was heavy even long after most protesters had gone home by the 9 p.m. curfew in place due to the pandemic.
“We are going through really difficult times,” Miranda Lazara, 53, a dance teacher, who joined the thousands of protesters who marched through Havana. “We need a change of system.”
Diaz-Canel, who also heads the Communist Party, blamed the unrest on old Cold War foe the United States, which in recent years tightened its decades-old trade embargo on the island, in a televised speech on Sunday afternoon.
Diaz-Canel said many protesters were sincere but manipulated by U.S.-orchestrated social media campaigns and “mercenaries” on the ground, and warned that further “provocations” would not be tolerated, calling on supporters to confront “provocations.”
The Daily Wire added this take:
Massive protests erupted on Sunday in Cuba as citizens of the island nation demanded an end to the communist dictatorship as they suffer in poverty while having limited freedom.
“In a country known for repressive crackdowns on dissent, the rallies were widely viewed as astonishing,” The New York Times reported. “Activists and analysts called it the first time that so many people had openly protested against the Communist government since the so-called Maleconazo uprising, which exploded in the summer of 1994 into a huge wave of Cubans leaving the country by sea.”
The report noted that numerous videos that were posted online that showed the protests had “suddenly disappeared.” “The people are dying of hunger!” one woman shouted during a protest highlighted by The Times, “Our children are dying of hunger!” Other chants included “We want freedom” and “We want vaccines.”
“Never seen images from #Havana,” Alexandre Krauss, Senior Advisor EU Parliament, tweeted. “Thousands are mobilizing across #Cuba demanding the end of the communist dictatorship while screaming ‘we are not afraid…we are not afraid.’”
And from NPR:
The demonstration grew to a few thousand in the vicinity of Galeano Avenue and the marchers pressed on despite a few charges by police officers and tear gas barrages. People standing on many balconies along the central artery in the Centro Habana neighborhood applauded the protesters passing by. Others joined in the march.
Although many people tried to take out their cellphones and broadcast the protest live, Cuban authorities shut down internet service throughout the afternoon.
About 2 1/2 hours into the march, some protesters pulled up cobblestones and threw them at police, at which point officers began arresting people and the marchers dispersed.
AP journalists counted at least 20 people who were taken away in police cars or by individuals in civilian clothes.
“The people came out to express themselves freely, and they are repressing and beating them,” Rev. Jorge Luis Gil, a Roman Catholic priest, said while standing at a street corner in Centro Habana.
About 300 people close to the government then arrived with a large Cuban flag shouting slogans in favor of the late President Fidel Castro and the Cuban revolution. Some people from the group assaulted an AP cameraman, disabling his camera, while an AP photographer was injured by the police.
Demonstrations were also held elsewhere on the island, including the small town of San Antonio de los Banos, where people protested power outages and were visited by President Miguel Díaz-Canel. He entered a few homes, where he took questions from residents.
Afterward, though, he accused Cuban Americans of stirring up trouble.
“As if pandemic outbreaks had not existed all over the world, the Cuban-American mafia, paying very well on social networks to influencers and Youtubers, has created a whole campaign … and has called for demonstrations across the country,” Díaz-Canel told reporters.
For the Cubans who desire freedom, it appears this will be a long, bloody conflict.
But anti-government protests of this scale are rare in Cuba.
The pressure on the communist regime is higher than ever before during its 60+ year rule.