Protests Fire Up as Nation Faces Spreading Blackouts and Hunger

( – A massive demonstration erupted in Cuba on March 17 as a fresh wave of widespread blackouts exacerbated tensions on the Caribbean island. The protests took place in Santiago de Cuba, the country’s second-largest city in the eastern region. Videos of the massive demonstrations show people yelling “corriente y comida,” which means “power and food.”

While most types of demonstrations have been made illegal by the Cuban communist dictatorship, people take to the streets every year to express their anger and wish for freedom. In the Santiago de Cuba protests, demonstrators said that they were “sick and tired” of the power outages and hunger. Experts have explained that these are the results not only of the radical left-wing policies but also of the rampant inflation that has been affecting the island over the last few years.

Back in July 2021, thousands of Cubans took to the streets of the main cities to protest hunger and the pandemic restrictions imposed by the regime of dictator Miguel Diaz-Canel. These protests were the largest ever experienced in the Caribbean island since Fidel Castro’s revolution back in 1959. While many thought that these could mean the end of the Cuban regime, Diaz-Canel ordered massive incarceration and persecution against those who were protesting. Some reports revealed that human rights violations were committed while the military thwarted the protests through extreme violence.

The protests in Santiago erupted a couple of hours after Energy Minister Vicente Levy said in a televised speech that emergency maintenance at a thermoelectric plant, along with fuel delivery delays, caused the blackouts. He said that Cuba’s main cities, including the capital, Havana, would experience blackouts several hours per day.

While the demonstrations are mostly happening in Santiago de Cuba, some reports said that these have already extended to other cities such as Bayamo and Holguin. Diaz-Canel claimed in a televised speech that those who were protesting were “enemies of the revolution,” accusing the United States of encouraging the protests and trying to “take advantage of the situation.”

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