President Miguel Díaz-Canel and Cuban leaders led demonstrations of tens of thousands of people on Saturday in support of the revolution in many localities of the country, as a way to show adherence of the population to the government, shaken this week by the most important protests in six decades.
On the same capital Malecón that on Sunday was taken by citizens with claims that ranged from the end of shortages or power cuts to a change of model on the island, Díaz-Canel and the leader Raúl Castro reaffirmed that the island’s socialism It won’t give in to pressure.
“It is not on a whim that we meet this morning … we have summoned them to denounce the blockade, aggression and terror,” said Díaz-Canel in front of a crowd gathered since dawn with Cuban flags, the red and black of the 26th movement. July —the date of the takeover of the Moncada Barracks and considered the beginning of the revolution— and those of the Communist Party of Cuba. “The enemy has once again launched himself with everything to destroy the sacred unity and the tranquility of the city.”
Díaz-Canel’s speech – more fiery than his poised intervention last Wednesday on the national network – insisted that the anti-government marches were artificially fired up through a campaign by anti-Castro groups in Florida with the endorsement of the United States and that they do not represent the interests of the people.
He also underscored the role of United States sanctions in the worst crisis in decades on the island, whose finances were also almost paralyzed by the coronavirus pandemic.
“Long live sovereign, independent and socialist Cuba,” the president exclaimed at the end of his speech. Díaz-Canel, first secretary of the Communist Party, ended his speech without uttering the historic slogan of “Homeland or Death,” which his predecessor Fidel Castro made famous and which his opponents have transformed into “Homeland and Life.”
Although less numerous than those called by the government and government organizations on Saturday, the anti-government demonstrations surprised last Sunday because of their number – some thousands – and because they had spread to various locations in the country. The protests, which began peaceful, ended in violence, vandalism, glass breakage and even the stoning of civil infrastructure, such as hospitals.
“When people with weak minds are influenced, these things happen like last Sunday. So we are here to show that this is not the Cuban youth, ”Talía Linares, a 19-year-old student who attended the government support rally, told AP.
In the last part of the week starting on Wednesday, little by little Cuban cities resumed their routines, especially Havana. Traffic improved and fewer police were seen on the streets. Internet service returned intermittently or with leaked pages.
The authorities claimed that criminals with a criminal record took advantage to carry out looting. One person died in the capital during clashes with the police.
Andrea Rodríguez is at: www.twitter.com/ARodriguezAP