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Cuban protest
This is a demonstration. This is a strong police presence. Photo: Composition by Javier Gómez

This is not a déjà vu, it is the obstinate search for a Cuban Maidán, which never tires of failure.

On December 30, 2014, the international corporate media came to cover what would be an "open microphone" allowing the censored Cuban people to express in the Plaza de la Revolución all that, according to the conveners, they had not been able to say aloud in more than 50 years. The call - disguised as an artistic performance - was launched from Miami, that paradise of freedom of expression, where raising a dissident voice when it comes to Cuba can mean, at best, unemployment, while finding ways to communicate from outside the dominant ruling class is practically impossible. The objective was obvious: to create an incident that would derail the process of normalization of relations between the United States and Cuba, announced just two weeks before.

Cuban authorities prevented the arrival to the Plaza of a small group, who, financed from abroad, intended to turn the political and administrative center of the Cuban capital into a tropical Maidán, while the fact that the island’s population, allegedly eager to finally express themselves freely, did not flock massively to the Plaza was explained by the media as a consequence of "fear of repression" and the limited access to the Internet in Cuba at that time, although over previous days cell phone users on the island were bombarded with text messages from the U.S. announcing the event.

Almost six years later, the alliance between the ultra-right wing in Miami and the Trump administration has clouded memories hope for normalization of relations between the United States and Cuba. The economic blockade Washington imposes on the island has reached new heights and the same forces dream that the effects of a blockade intensified with more than 80 anti-Cuban actions by the current administration, combined with the harsh economic blow dealt by the COVID-19 pandemic, will facilitate what they could not achieve in December 2014. As the blockade’s tightening screws have almost lost their thread, new economic sanctions must be justified by “the regime’s repression" and pressure exerted to weaken Cuba’s relations with Europe and other Western nations.

For the haters, anything goes. Those who attempt to equate a regrettable but exceptional incident in Cuba with systemic and daily violence in the United States have no scruples. Perhaps they believe that a non-conformist and critical people like Cuba’s, with an acute political culture, will allow ourselves to be swayed by a crude manipulation financed from the North.

This July 1, the popular corner of 23rd and L in the Havana neighborhood of Vedado, and other busy sites in the national and provincial capitals, were to have been the scene of a protest against police violence in Cuba, called by the same individuals who failed on December 30, 2014. The "regime's troops" were already advancing on the capital to repress the protests, as evidenced by a photo published on one of the “free” press sites. But oh, the license plates on jeeps driven by the repressive forces appearing in the post - with their tops down and no weapons or facemasks in sight - expired years ago, while the background was that of Santiago de Cuba, not Havana, and the buildings visible in the image no longer even exist. The troops, yes, were moving, but only in a time machine and on the Internet highway.

“Once again, more of the same, linking anyone protesting in Cuba with the U. S. government," someone might say. But check the Twitter accounts of the embassy’s chargé d'affaires in Havana, the OAS Secretary General, Cuban-American Congressmen pushing for new sanctions against Cuba, or the website of the government's Radio-Television Martí and the "independent" media, financed by the sponsor of “colorful” revolutions and financier of the Ukrainian Maidan, George Soros, and the National Endowment for Democracy -which even The New York Times recognizes as a screen for the CIA - to see who is behind this call, amplified by media such as the BBC, which in spite of being a British public press outlet ignored Cuba’s humanitarian rescue of hundreds of citizens of that country onboard a cruise ship, in danger of becoming a floating morgue. This is the same source that contributed months ago to the history of yellow journalism by telling the world that an armored car security guard was a regular police officer controlling lines on the island with a high caliber rifle.

In Cuba, without a doubt, channels of communication need to be expanded, representative bodies and spaces for political participation to be perfected, and mechanisms of transparency, accountability and popular control to be improved. I am not saying anything new; the Cuban government has recognized this and this reality is reflected in the spirit of the new Constitution, which was overwhelmingly approved by popular referendum. But this path is heading in the opposite direction, away from the power of money in politics and the acceptance of U.S. interference, which are common currency in capitalist democracies. There is consensus among Cubans that those who serve a foreign agenda of regime change, and are paid to do so, lack legitimacy.

There is no historical basis to say that Cubans are afraid to overthrow their government , when you are talking about a people who, at the end of the 19th century, raised machetes against modern rifles to win independence, and in the 20th century, overthrew two dictators supported by Washington, and went to Africa to defeat apartheid South Africa, which was armed with nuclear weapons. At a time when the United States said there was a democratic government in Cuba, those opposed it defied the police, who tortured and murdered citizens, and dared to struggle in the streets despite gunshots, beatings and water cannons. Thousands of deaths attest to this fact.

Now that the United States claims that there is a dictatorship here, those who, with the support of our northern neighbor, claim to oppose such tyranny, insist that the police do not allow demonstrations, but not a single one of them is willing to do what those who, without asking permission, confronted the “democracy” that tortured and killed thousands, supported by the country that claims to defend freedom of expression and information in Cuba, but viciously persecutes those who exercise it, if it cannot silence them. Julian Assange and Edward Snowden can testify to this.

Despite the fact that there are more than seven million Cubans connected to the Internet, bombarded everyday with propaganda manufactured in fourth-generation psychological warfare laboratories - on the U. S. government payroll - this call for protest went nowhere. On July 1, in the rain, the island’s streets were filled to receive members of the Henry Reeve Contingent returning home after battling COVID-19 and saving lives in the Principality of Andorra.


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