Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel made a self-criticism about the weekend’s street protests on Wednesday, acknowledging shortcomings on the island that include the lack of spaces for the development of young people and the existence of neglected vulnerable sectors, but urged not to act with hatred after acts of vandalism occurred.
“We have to get experience from the riots, we also have to make a critical analysis of our problems in order to act and overcome, and prevent them from recurring,” said the president during an appearance on national television.
Until now, the Cuban government had only said that social networks had responsibility, claiming that they had encouraged protests through a deceptive campaign, and also accused the United States government of being behind the disturbances in their desire to put an end to the the Cuban revolution.
However, on Wednesday the authorities made a self-criticism about what happened for the first time.
“Our society is not a society that generates hatred and those people acted with hatred, the feeling of the Cubans is a feeling of solidarity, and these people carried out these armed acts, with vandalism,” added Díaz-Canel.
“Yelling deaths and lynchings, planning to assault public places, breaking, robbing, throwing stones, turning (overturning) equipment (patrols).”
Groups of protesters filled the streets on Sunday in Cuba’s most notorious anti-government protests in nearly three decades – the previous ones dating back to 1994 – expressing discontent with shortages, shortages and power outages, or demanding political changes.
The incidents continued to a lesser extent on Monday, when a man was killed in a clash with police officers. There was destruction of stained glass windows, assault on shops, vandalized patrols and overturned private cars. No incidents were reported on Wednesday.
The authorities did not report on the number of detainees, although Colonel Moraima Bravet of the Interior Ministry said on Wednesday that it was mostly people between 25 and 37 years old who will be prosecuted by the courts for crimes such as public disorder, assault, contempt, theft or damages, depending on the magnitude of your participation.
Díaz-Canel indicated that, in his opinion, four groups were involved in the protests: opponents with annexationist aspirations to the United States – people who waved that country’s flags were seen at the marches – criminals who took advantage of the riots, genuine citizens dissatisfied by the deficiencies that have worsened in these months, and a part of the young people who are not incorporated into social work in society.
Cuba is suffering the worst crisis in years, a mixture of the effect of the coronavirus pandemic that paralyzed the economy –for example, the vital tourism sector–, of inefficiencies in the state sector itself and of the adjustment caused by a radical tightening of the US sanctions to press for a change in the political model.
Former US President Donald Trump imposed more than 200 measures against the island in four years, blocking almost all sectors of the country so that they could not grow.
In any case, Díaz-Canel emphasized that the “complex situation” was taken advantage of “by those who do not really want a development of the Cuban revolution, by those who do not aspire to a civilized and respectful relationship with the United States.”
Shortly before the president’s words, Prime Minister Manuel Marrero announced some measures such as customs flexibility so that Cuban citizens bring the amount of hygiene products, food and medicines – among the most underserved in Cuba – that they want on their trips, and have the possibility of receiving their rations through the supply book, even if they are not in their places of origin.
In addition, Marrero assured that work is being done on the stability of the national electric power system and the regularization of the table of medicines, many of which are produced on the island but whose supplies must be imported.
For his part, the Minister of Economy, Alejandro Gil, reported that the directors of state-owned companies will be allowed to determine salaries beyond the regulations, and that in the coming weeks the regulations will come out – several times announced – for them to be constitute small and medium-sized enterprises, an unthinkable step within the framework of socialism as it developed on the island for decades.
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.