Spanish – Under Fidel Castro’s command, the Black Spring occurred when nearly one hundred opponents ended up as prisoners of conscience in 2003.
A similar wave is currently happening, and the quarantine has only aggravated the situation as it adds one more reason to deprive Cubans of their freedom.
“Prohibitions and limitations on the exercise of freedoms have increased, and the repression has taken a dangerous turn that places the country at the gates of a process similar to the Black Spring of 2003,” according to the Cuban Observatory for Human Rights.
“Never before have social rights in Cuba been so violated. And it cannot be said that this is only the result of an economic situation, which began in 2019 and now was worsened in 2020 with the COVID-19 crisis, but the total failure of a system that tacitly promised social rights in exchange for political freedoms and that has now left 11 million Cubans without either,” the report states.
"Hay una sociedad civil más diversa y activa, que se va abriendo paso en medio de la ausencia de libertades"
— Observatorio Cubano de Derechos Humanos (@observacuba) January 14, 2021
According to the OCDH annual report, in 2020:
▪ At least 1798 arbitrary detentions were documented, 216 with violence by the authorities.
▪ Forced detentions of activists in their homes, besieged to prevent them from leaving, increased to 1647.
▪ Poverty increased, and all social rights deteriorated.
▪ Physical aggression and the excessive use of force, including lethal force, were present in the police actions.
Amid the commotion caused in the world by the Black Lives Matter (BLM) organization, which denounces how the police racially profile and kill black people, the cases of excessive force in Cuba did not have greater visibility.
The organization’s political bias is no small matter. The BLM was founded by trained Marxists. One of them even traveled personally to Venezuela to oversee the 2015 parliamentary elections. Since the opposition won, the BLM referred to its opponents as counter-revolutionaries and even personally honored Nicolás Maduro on his visit to Harlem, New York.
However, the organization remained silent in the face of the death of a young black man, Hansel Ernesto Hernández Galiano, 26, who was shot multiple times by the police in Havana. His family reports that he was shot in the back.
Nor did BLM demonstrate in the face of the first wave of repression in Cuba since June 30 in response to protests against racism and police violence. For the BLM’s founding trans feminists, the opponents of the socialist regimes are counter-revolutionaries.
According to the OCDH, there were at least two more waves of repression: on September 8, in response to the “Sunflower Revolution;” and the November-December wave of repression against the San Isidro Movement and other civil society groups.
⛔ Informe Anual 2020 OCDH:
Represión y Pobreza en 🇨🇺 Cuba 👇🏾
➡️ 1.798 detenciones arbitrarias. 216 violentas
➡️ 1.647 retenciones forzosas de activistas en sus casas
➡️ 64%* vive con < de 1,11 USD por día.
* media de 3 personas por hogar
— Observatorio Cubano de Derechos Humanos (@observacuba) January 13, 2021
Deterioration of the economy
The report is not limited to police abuse; it also mentions the deteriorating economy.
In the second half of 2020, 21% of Cuban families were living on less than 20 USD a month, almost twice as many as in January (11%).
This means that 24% of the population was living on between 20 and 40 USD per month, and 19% on between 41 and 100.
Considering an average of three people per household, 64% of Cubans lived on less than 1.11 USD per day.
In total, 77% of Cubans reported severe or moderate shortages; and 42% said they had “problems even buying the most essential things to survive.”
Cuba has managed to propagate in the world an image of social welfare. However, in practice, for 60% of Cuban families, the food in the ration book covers only five to ten days a month.