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Cubans in the streets push back the police of the dictatorship

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Cuba in the street: What the Castro dictatorship doesn’t want the world to see

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Cuba becomes a failed state and provokes a new crisis of the rafters

Some 30 people tried to set sail last August 29 in three rustic boats from the humble town of El Cepem, near Havana, Cuba, where rafters launch themselves into the sea seeking to reach the coast of Florida, in the United States, in the midst of the migratory exodus that the island is experiencing.

The attempt ended in a protest by residents who clashed with the police, trying to prevent them from removing the rafts, according to residents who were witnesses.

“Whoever wants to leave, let them go, we are going through tremendous hunger, tremendous need,” complained a 49-year-old neighbor.

Although emigrating by raft is illegal, it is “happening throughout Cuba,” says the woman looking out to sea. “This is what they call Terminal Three,” she quips, alluding to the international station at Havana’s José Martí airport.

The dispute in broad daylight broke out when police confronted residents who requested the presence of an authority to allow the rafters to leave.

It resulted in at least four detainees, people injured by beatings and the seizure of wooden boats, said a 32-year-old housewife whose husband was arrested and released that night, she said.

So far, there has been no response from the media related to the regime on this incident.

In Isabela de Sagua, another town resorted to by rafters in the central province of Villa Clara, a boat with six people disappeared at sea on August 28, mobilizing border guard boats, a drone and military helicopters in their search.

This is one more case of rafts with an uncertain destination. Since October, at least 61 people have died trying to cross the Florida Straits, the US Coast Guard reported on August 12.

In the summer of 1994, more than 35,000 Cubans left for Miami in what became known as the “rafter crisis,” the island’s largest maritime emigration. But not since Havana reestablished relations with Washington in 2015 had so many people left.

The trigger for the new wave of emigrants was the repression that began on July 11 and the subsequent elimination in November of the visa for Cubans traveling to Nicaragua.

Flying to that Central American country and making the continental journey to the US border is a journey that can cost more than 12,000 dollars, a luxury that few Cubans can afford.

According to the United States Customs and Border Protection Service (CBP), a record of almost 179,000 Cubans entered the United States irregularly between October and July, the majority by land.

Another 5,000 were intercepted at sea between October and August by the Coast Guard, half during the summer, when weather conditions favor navigation in this area.

The Cuban dictatorship blames the United States in the face of international organizations, but behind closed doors the repression and human rights violations intensify, it does not allow individual fishing as a form of subsistence and citizen food, it does not allow individual imports and prohibits all private initiative not aligned with the dome regardless of the fact that the people are starving.

Cuba faces its worst political, economic and social crisis in three decades, with shortages of food, medicine, fuel and daily blackouts, many experts already classify the island as a failed state.

All this has lit up the atmosphere. Demonstrations in provincial towns are becoming more and more frequent, something unthinkable before the historic protests of July 11, 2021.

The people of El Cepem, settled irregularly for 20 years, say they are irritated by the harsh conditions in which they live and the lack of attention from the authorities.

“Since they came to see the issue of the boats, they could have come to see what is needed, what is needed,” said one of the witnesses angrily.

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José Martí
José Martí
Nacionalista cubano, poeta, filósofo, ensayista, periodista, traductor, profesor y editor.

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