Skip to content

How Communist Cuba is Cracking Down on Dissent to Block Pro-Freedom Protests

Esta entrada también está disponible en: Español

This past Monday, the communist regime of Miguel Diaz-Canel has increased its nationwide crackdown on dissent in response to the planning of nationwide protests. The Cuban government mobilized its state security to prevent dissidents to express their discontent with the communist dictatorship that has governed the island for more than six decades.

Most notably, on Sunday pro-government supporters and state security officials surrounded the home of Junior Garcia, one of the most well-known Cuban dissidents to avoid Garcia from leaving his house, as he had planned to march through the streets alone holding a white rose. Instead, Garcia held a white rose from his window in order to show his disapproval of the government until communist supporters covered his house with Cuban flags.

The communist government denied a permit for a planned “civic march for change” this Monday. Security forces also surrounded the homes of activists and journalists. Abraham Jimenez Enoa, an independent journalist and contributor to The Washington Post, was put under house arrest by police officials.

According to Jimenez, the tactic of militarizing the streets has the objective of preventing opposition leaders and journalists to go out, making it difficult for any organized protest to take place. Jimenez Enoa told the Post that the island is currently “living a state of siege” and that there is an “enormous deployment of police and use of repression”.

New York Times
Cuban Americans protest in DC earlier this year. (Image: EFE)

The castrista regime faced massive street protests earlier this year

Cuba, which has been under direct and continuous communist rule since 1959, was rocked by historic street demonstrations earlier this year when thousands of Cuban citizens defied the Diaz-Canel regime throughout the country, in a series of street protests that had not been observed since the 1990s.

Miguel Diaz-Canel, who was appointed by the Cuban Communist party apparatus to succeed Raul Castro as President in 2019, reacted brutally and swiftly with some news media reporting hundreds of missing protestors after the demonstrations. The government also quickly moved to disconnect the island’s access to the internet and social media to make it harder for protestors to organize demonstrations.

The Diaz-Canel dictatorship accuses the United States of being behind the protests. Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez called the planned Monday demonstrations a “destabilizing operation designed in Washington.” The State Department showed support for Cuban protestors, condemning the “intimidation tactics” the communist dictatorship has used.

Cubans around the world accompanied the protests of July (EFE)

American politicians reactions to the situation in Cuba

Cuban-American Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) accused the Cuban regime of “mobilizing angry mobs to harass & intimidate their political opponents”. FL Gov Ron DeSantis met with leaders of the exile Cuban community in Miami where he announced that his administration will repair a landmark building where Cuban refugees received help after they fled the communist government. DeSantis also criticized the Biden White House over its Cuba policy, saying to the crowd “you’ve had almost no support whatsoever from the Biden administration”.  

While the Biden Administration has offered rhetorical support to the Cuban people, the government has only implemented personal financial sanctions to some government officials. Republican politicians have criticized the White House for not doing enough to ensure free internet access to the Cuban people on the island.

The progressive wing of the Democratic Party has been more silent towards the protests. Just recently, 40 Democratic lawmakers voted against a resolution that condemned the Cuban government crackdown on protestors, the list included progressive politicians like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), and Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA).

Daniel is a Political Science and Economics student from the University of South Florida. He worked as a congressional intern to Rep. Gus Bilirakis (FL-12) from January to May 2020. He also is the head of international analysis at Politiks // Daniel es un estudiante de Cs Políticas y Economía en la Universidad del Sur de la Florida. Trabajo como pasante legislativo para el Representate Gus Bilirakis (FL-12) desde enero hasta mayo del 2020. Daniel también es el jefe de análisis internacional de Politiks.