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Twitter Wants You to Think the Major Protests in the Streets of Cuba Right Now Are Over 'Impact of COVID-19'

AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa

All aound Cuba on Sunday, thousands took to the streets to protest the Communist dictatorship regime under Miguel Díaz-Canel and the miseries which come with it. As tends to be the case with those living under such oppression, the people have been facing shortages of food, medicine, and vaccines. In allowing #SOSCuba and #PatriaYVida to trend, though, Twitter is pushing a narrative that it's to do with "the impact of COVID-19."


Frances Robles for The New York Times writes that the protests are "a remarkable eruption of discontent not seen in nearly 30 years." Robles also tweeted that she had "never ever seen anything like the protests today."

She also included in her reporting:

In a country known for repressive crackdowns on dissent, the rallies were widely viewed as astonishing. Activists and analysts called it the first time that so many people had openly protested against the Communist government since the so-called Maleconazo uprising, which exploded in the summer of 1994 into a huge wave of Cubans leaving the country by sea.

Carolina Barrero, a Cuban activist, went even further. “It is the most massive popular demonstration to protest the government that we have experienced in Cuba since ’59,” she said by text message, referring to the year Fidel Castro took power. She called the public outpouring on Sunday “spontaneous, frontal and forceful.”

“What has happened is enormous,” she added.


While there is still footage online over social media as of Sunday evening, Robles warns that footage which had been streaming live on Facebook for almost an hour had "suddenly disappeared." Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), who is posting about the protests from his Twitter account in Spanish and English, warns about the availability of such footage.

Not long after, Patrick Oppmann, CNN's Havana Bureau Chief, tweeted that the Internet has indeed been cut off in part of the city.

According to a resident Oppmann spoke with, the people are being subject to 12 hour power cuts and no electricity over this particularly hot summer.


Widely viewed videos show people chanting "we are not afraid."

The Federalist's Giancarlo Sopo pointed out that this is reminiscent of Pope John Paul II's trip to Cuba when he said "Do not be afraid."

It's not just in major cities like Havana, though, but in this small town.


Florida's other Republican senator, Rick Scott, is also tweeting in English and Spanish. He and Rubio are issuing calls to the Biden administration, specifically Sec. of State Antony Blinken, to call on the Cuban military to protect the people.

There is also footage, however, of police beating up peaceful protesters. 

As Robles also reported, the regime predictably tried to set the narrative:

Cuba’s foreign minister, Bruno Rodríguez, confirmed via Twitter that Mr. Díaz-Canel had rushed to San Antonio de los Baños, where the government insisted that “salaried” protesters were trying to provoke a severe reaction by the authorities.

“Celebrating what they orchestrated today in San Antonio de los Baños only uncovers the worst nature of people,” a government Twitter account quoted the president as saying.

“Cubans know perfectly well that the government of the United States is principally responsible for Cuba’s current situation,” the foreign ministry said in a Twitter post. “Cuba and its streets belong to the revolutionaries.”

Within hours of the extraordinary events, the president broke into national television programming to urge government supporters to hit the streets and confront the protesters. He blamed the United States for restricting exports, access to funds and travel to Cuba, which led to widespread shortages.

Mr. Díaz-Canel said in televised remarks on Sunday that the protests were a form of “systemic provocation” by dissidents doing the bidding of the United States. He said Washington in recent months had sought to destabilize and weaken the island’s economy as part of a policy designed to “provoke a massive social implosion.”

Granma, the Cuban Communist Party newspaper, said in a rare reference to demonstrations that people who took to the streets on Sunday included government supporters who “may have been confused by disinformation on social media.”

“We call all revolutionaries to hit the streets to defend the revolution everywhere,” the president said.He added that people loyal to the revolution were willing to give their lives to defend the government. “Over our dead bodies,” he said. “We are prepared to do anything.”


Gov. Ron DeSantis and Lt. Gov. Jeannette Nunez, whose father was a Cuban exile, have tweeted their support for the protestors. 

So far neither the State Department nor President Joe Biden have tweeted about the protests, though this piece will be updated if and when they do. 

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