Thousands of people protest against Cuban government | free press

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Cubans demonstrate in various parts of the island state against the economy of shortages and oppression. After the recent change of leadership, many hoped in vain for political liberalization.

San Antonio de los Baños (dpa) – For the first time in years, large numbers of protesters against the socialist government took to the streets in Cuba. Especially in the city of San Antonio de los Baños, southwest of the capital Havana, scores of people protested against the economy of scarcity and oppression.

This was reflected in videos posted on social networks. There were also demonstrations in Havana and the cities of Holguín, Matanzas, Camagüey and Santiago de Cuba.

Security forces on duty

President Miguel Díaz-Canel himself went to San Antonio de los Baños and addressed the Cubans on state television. “We will not give up the sovereignty and independence of this nation,” said the First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party. “If they want to beat the revolution, they have to go over our corpses.” Government opponents say security forces mobilized against the protesters. “We call on all revolutionaries to take to the streets and defend the revolution everywhere,” Díaz-Canel said.

Change of leadership in April

Mass protests against the socialist government are rare in authoritarian Cuba. But lately, opposition artists of the so-called San Isidro movement repeatedly took people to the streets and also attracted international attention. The musicians Descemer Bueno, Yotuel Romero and the Duo Gente de Zona showed their solidarity with the movement with their song “Patria y Vida” (Fatherland and Life).

It was not until April that President Miguel Díaz-Canel took over the leadership of the Communist Party (PCC) from Raúl Castro. For the first time since the 1959 revolution, the socialist Caribbean island is no longer ruled by a Castro. However, the change at the top of the party did not go hand in hand with political liberalisation. In everyday life, most Cubans also suffer from the consequences of the Cuban planned economy and the economic embargo of the US.

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