Cuba’s Government Is Set to Charge Protesters Who Don’t Have the Right to Protest

After Hurricane Ian left Cuba in the dark, protestors took to the streets. Now the government is set to charge them for an extra day of electricity for which they didn’t ask.

Last September, as Hurricane Ian made landfall, more than two million Cubans lost power. With no government plan or warning, power was out for days–even weeks–and many were left in the dark without power generators to charge their cellphones and electric toothbrushes. It’s estimated that two million Cubans had no electricity at all. And as thousands of people took to the street to protest the government’s inability to provide electricity, they were promptly arrested, beaten by police, or both.

The government’s lack of preparedness for this storm came as no surprise. A year earlier, the Cuban government was faced with an equally devastating Hurricane Irma, which had made landfall in the Dominican Republic, destroying much of the country’s infrastructure. According to the country’s National Telecommunications Commission, most of Cuba’s electricity came from fossil fuel, which was unreliable during the two hurricanes.

However, in the face of all of this, the government was unprepared for the power cuts that came with Hurricane Ian. The government was only able to restore power for a few hours on September 8, with the government admitting a total of 48 hours of power outages when they regained control of their networks.

However, this year, thanks to an ongoing protest movement, Cuba is seeing a more violent form of protest, one that is much more likely to be met with deadly force. Earlier this month, thousands of people demonstrated in Havana against the government’s inability to supply power to its citizens after Hurricane Irma. This protest was met with deadly force, as protestors were attacked with rocks and bottles–and even tear gas.

Now, less than a month after this violent protest, the government is set to charge protestors who don’t have the right to protest, a new form of criminal detention for protestors. The government may now be charging protestors for

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