From Cuba and connected to the internet through a VPN, independent journalist Miriam Celaya gave an exclusive interview to El American.
In a short conversation, with some interruptions in the signal, but very willing to tell what is happening on the island, the journalist affirmed that she is not afraid of Miguel Díaz-Canel’s regime and accused him of summoning pro-government youths to start violence in the streets against opposition demonstrations.
“Havana is militarized”
Celaya, who lives in Centro Habana, told that after five days of protests against tyranny the city is militarized with members of the Armed Forces dressed in civilian clothes.
“There are many police forces in the streets, there is constant observation, one feels the pressure of surveillance”, she said.
The journalist denounced that university students are being summoned by the Federación Estudiantil Universitaria, a pro-government organization that responds to the regime, to confront and beat those who decide to take to the streets to continue protesting.
“The Government knows perfectly well that the demonstrations are going to continue”, emphasizes Celaya, since “they have not been given freedoms or rights, which is what they are actually demanding”.
He said that the protests continue in some parts of Cuba despite the fact that regime forces have managed to quell most of the massive demonstrations.
“To say that they are protesting only for vaccines is an insult to the intelligence of Cubans”
The journalist expressed that it has become clear in social networks that Cubans are dissatisfied with the regime, that besides demanding vaccines, reforms and solutions, the main demand is to be able to be free.
“To say that it was the vaccines is a tremendous simplism and is also a deep contempt for the desire for freedom that Cubans have,” she said.
“A generation that dominates the networks and clamors for freedom”
Celaya explained that most of the Cuban protesters are young people who master the social networks who do not feel they have any kind of commitment to the communist regime and yearn for civil rights and freedom.
The Cuban journalist affirmed that “They are mainly young people, these people do not have any commitment with the guerrillas of 1959 […] this is the generation that masters the networks, a generation that wants to live, that wants democracy, a generation from the 21st century.”
“Unprecedented” protests in Cuba’s history
Celaya, who is over 60 years old, explained that this is the first time in the island’s history that protests are taking place on a massive scale demanding deep reforms and even regime change:
“What is happening is unique, unprecedented in the history of Cuba […] I am not exaggerating because in history there have never been massive and simultaneous demonstrations all over the island.”
“Lifting the embargo without conditions could bring catastrophic consequences for the Cubans”
Faced with the constant call from leftist leaders asking Joe Biden’s government to lift the embargo on Cuba, Celaya considers that if it is done it should be under serious conditions.
She said that for the Castro and Díaz-Canel regimes, the embargo has served as an excuse to suffocate the Cuban people.
“Over time the embargo has served as a wild card to repress inside Cuba, and has served as a pretext to justify the enormous shortages, misery, poverty and everything that the Cuban people have had to suffer,” she pointed out.
“The real blockade we Cubans have inside Cuba it is that here there can be production by farmers, by individuals, without the embargo having anything to do with it. It is the Cuban authorities who do not allow this to happen,” Celaya said.