Desperation Mounts as Protests Erupt Amidst Power and Food Shortages in Cuba

The harrowing specter of deprivation and despair looms large over the streets of Cuba, where citizens grapple with prolonged power outages and crippling food shortages.

Protest Due to Power and Food Shortages

For hours on end, there is no power and barely any food – the situation is extremely tense for many people in tightly regulated Cuba. The government is currently allowing them to demonstrate, but apparently intermittently shuts off the internet.

In the eastern part of Cuba, the power goes out repeatedly for many hours, exacerbating food shortages – the people there have expressed their anger over this situation. In Santiago de Cuba, the second largest city, hundreds have taken to the streets in a rare public protest.

“People were chanting ‘Food and power’,” reported a resident of Santiago, located 800 kilometers from the capital Havana. Later, the power supply was restored. The number of hours the power has been out in the past few days varies significantly. In some reports, it’s mentioned as up to eight hours, while in others, it’s more than 18 hours.

“Several people have expressed their dissatisfaction with the situation of power supply and food distribution,” said the Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel on the messaging service X, confirming the protests.

“‘Terrorists’ from the US are trying to incite further uprisings. “This situation will be exploited by the enemies of the revolution for destabilizing purposes.” He called for an “atmosphere of calm and peace”. The police have arrived in Santiago to “prevent violence,” according to a report from the state broadcaster CubaDebate.

US Calls for Respect of the Right to Demonstrate

The US Embassy in Havana stated there were reports of protests in other provinces as well. They urged the Cuban government via X to respect the rights of the demonstrators. In response, the Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez also called on Washington not to “interfere in the country’s internal affairs”.

An anonymous source told the news agency AP over the phone that the internet was shut down in Santiago after the demonstrations. Several users also reported internet outages in the city on X.

Cuba Faces an Economic Crisis

The power outages plaguing Cuba since the beginning of March are linked to maintenance work at the country’s largest power plant located in the province of Matanzas to the east of Havana. Over the weekend, there was also a shortage of fuel. The fuel is needed to operate other power plants.

Cuba is grappling with one of the most severe economic and energy crises in its history. Power outages have worsened in recent weeks. Frustration over food shortages and inflation is escalating. The situation is becoming increasingly difficult for people on the communist-governed island.