For the second day in a row, nearly 100 Cuban residents in Mérida protested against their home country’s Communist regime.
Holding Cuban flags and signs reading “we want freedom” and “no more blood,” the protestors made their way to the consulate of the island nation demanding sweeping reform.
Similar protests have been held in cities across North America in Europe over the last few days, as well as in Cuba itself, where well over 100 people have already been arrested.
Protestors say that they are fed up with Cuba’s repressive policies, food shortages, and failure to adequately protect its citizens from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are not afraid! We are not afraid!” shouted thousands of protestors as they marched through the streets of Cuba’s capital city of Havana.
Protests of this magnitude are unprecedented in Cuba, as the police are quick to come down hard on political dissidents, analysts say.
Over the past several years, the growth of internet connectivity has exploded in the country. Protestors and social activists are now relying on social media to organize protests and get their ideas across. As a result, Cuba’s internet infrastructure has been almost entirely shut down by state authorities since Sunday.
Despite government rhetoric to the contrary, Cuba’s COVID-19 has been steadily worsening. The country is now reporting over 6,000 new weekly cases, but residents say the situation on the ground is actually much worse.
Cuba’s economy contracted 11% in 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic decimated its vital tourism industry. There are also reports that food insecurity on the island is advancing at an alarming rate.
Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel blamed the political unrest in his country on the United States and its continued trade embargo.