After Hurricane Ian left Cuba in the dark, protestors took to the streets. Now the government is set to charge them with insurrection. Why is this happening?
Cuban exiles are outraged. Now they are going to be charged with insurrection. And that is how we got here.
Here’s the situation:
On the evening of June 20th, around 150 people gathered at the Plaza de la Revolución, in Santiago de Cuba. They made speeches, sang, and sang and sang as they marched. At one point they even set a fire to the barricades of the government, to try and get the government to back down. And then they just kept marching.
They were singing “Ya no se mueren, No se mueren” (“You will not die, you will not die”). It is a Cuban Revolutionary song, and has deep roots in Cuban culture. But it is also a song about a revolutionary leader’s death, in the context of Cuba’s revolutionary struggle and the Cuban Revolution. The song describes a day when Fidel died, as he had promised in his last speech. When he had come to the end of his life, he was still saying “Ya no se mueren,” despite the pain on his face.
The Cubans sang as they marched into the streets. In the morning, as protestors went about their business, there was a riot. And the government responded with tear gas, and then with water cannons. They had been warned about the potential for this type of response. But, they acted as if it was a regular occurrence.
The government had told the people that they should stay away, at this time of day, but that they would wait until the evening to make their move. But they had already given the orders to begin to disperse, and had threatened protestors.
By midday, the government had sent in the riot police. They were trying to break the protestors down by hitting them with plastic bullets. There were many injuries. A young woman, a student, was shot. Three protestors died, in the process of trying to resist the police.
In the end, more than 1,000 people were injured, many with concussions.