NewsCubans take to the streets demanding food, electricity amid crisis

Cubans take to the streets demanding food, electricity amid crisis

Cubans take to the streets demanding food, electricity amid crisis
Images source: © GETTY | Bloomberg
7:43 AM EDT, March 18, 2024

Thousands of residents in Cuba voiced their dissatisfaction through anti-government protests on Sunday, calling for the authorities to restore electricity quickly and to replenish the bare shelves of grocery stores.

The bulk of these demonstrations unfolded in Santiago de Cuba, situated in the island's southwest region.

Anti-government demonstrations in Cuba

"We want bread!", "We are hungry!", "Freedom!", "We want electricity and food!" - These were the cries echoed by protestors, who gathered in the heart of the Cuban city.

As reported by independent media and reflections shared by demonstrators on social media, the authorities dispatched trucks laden with food, including essentials like rice and milk, to several areas rocked by protests.

Observers on the Cibercuba website suggest that this impromptu provision of goods on Sunday was a strategy to quell the social unrest in Santiago de Cuba.

The day also saw significant protests in Bayamo and Cacocum, located in Cuba's eastern region. There, the outcry was against the prolonged electricity outages.

While Cuban officials, who deployed security officers throughout the streets, have yet to confirm any arrests among the protestors, online contributors describe the demonstrations as peaceful.

Crisis in Cuba

The economic crisis that has plagued the communist-run island for four years has spiraled to unprecedented levels, exacerbated by diminished imports and a stark plunge in production.

"Since 2018, food production, pharmaceutical supplies, and transportation have all halved, and the decline continues. The situation is aggravated by chronic fuel shortages and frequent power outages," as reported by Reuters last year.

The output of pork, rice, and beans - fundamental elements of the Cuban diet - has plummeted by over 80 percent compared to levels before this year's crisis. Additionally, egg production has halved.

The Cuban government recognizes the urgent need for economic reform within its state-run economy.

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