After several days without electricity, Cubans took to the streets again this Friday night and this same Saturday in the early hours of the day. In Havana, where the protests have reached a massive level, demonstrations have been documented in the municipalities of Playa, Arroyo Naranjo, Guanabacoa, Cerro, Marianao, Boyeros and Cojímar, and in the neighborhoods of Puentes Grandes, La Palma and Mantilla.
In the case of Cerro, the protest continues until this Saturday morning. Several neighbors have built barricades with garbage containers and protest openly. On the street they have painted a sign: “Five days without electricity.”
The protest also continues in Guanabacoa, where residents have blocked 20th and Máximo Gómez streets, according to a source from 14ymedio.
“The police are supporting them, not attacking them,” he says. “They locked the four corners because they have been without light for four days and all the food has spoiled.”
“Everyone is amazed,” says the contact for this newspaper, “none of the agents has been aggressive. They let them make their protest, waiting for them to turn on the current.” Avoiding confrontation seems to have been one of the constants of the uniformed men during the protests this Friday, which suggests that it is a government orientation -unlike what happened on 11J-, although several witnesses point out the presence in some places of official groups armed with sticks.
A video posted on social media shows how, shouting “Go back, you disgusting!”, several young people block the way and force two officers from the Ministry of the Interior who were traveling on a motorcycle to withdraw.
In the municipality of Playa, where many leaders of the government leadership live and most of the embassies are located, the protests they occupied about three blocks of 31st avenue. “Go away!” and “freedom!” shouted the crowd to a flotilla of patrol cars, motorcycles, and several police officers that disbanded outside the street occupied by the protesters.
However, other images show the presence of plainclothes agents and recruits from the Compulsory Military Service, armed with sticks and shouting slogans in support of the regime, mobilized against the protesters in Playa, although there is no information on clashes between the two groups.
Another source of this newspaper reported that on Aranguren street, between Ayestarán and Panchito Gómez, which mark the boundary between the municipalities of El Cerro and Plaza, a large number of police and plainclothes agents were also concentrated, prepared to block access to the Plaza de la Revolución, where the buildings of various ministries and the nerve center of power are located.
At the José Martí International Airport, several protesters also blocked the streets leading to the air terminals.
“It is one of the points that they are interested in having well controlled,” he asserted, “if the crowds come to control the Plaza, it would be a symbolic defeat for Power.” Checkpoints are suspected at other key access points in the capital.
The Police had prepared a cordon and several patrols, in case the demonstrators reached Saldo Street, a bypass of Aranguren, but the protest did not reach that point. At 10:00 p.m. the current returned.
A worker at the José Martí International Airport in Boyeros told this newspaper that several protesters also blocked the streets leading to the air terminals. “The distribution in front of the airport does not have power, but the terminals have a power plant and they are working,” he said. “People don’t understand why they prioritize the airport and not the town, that’s why they wanted to go throw stones.”
The president of the Provincial Defense Council of Havana, Luis Antonio Torres Iríbar, seems to have set the standard of not confronting the demonstrators. “I believe that protesting is a right”, said this Friday on Cuban Televisionalthough he qualified by adding that this right can only be exercised “when those responsible for the State and the Government are failing to do what they are responsible for.”
Immediately afterwards, Iríbar disqualified Thursday’s demonstrations stating that “yesterday’s protests, instead of helping, slow down the fulfillment of that mission.”
Most of the Island has been without electricity since September 27 and fixed telephone cables have been damaged. The internet cuts by the government and the breakdown of telephone lines have made it difficult to report the situation, although a lot of information is circulating on social networks about other protests this Friday in Holguín, Matanzas and other municipalities in Havana.
It also prevented the operation, during part of the night, of the servers of several official newspapers such as Cubadebate and the official website of the Communist Party, as recorded by the platform Inventory Project.
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