San Antonio de los Baños, where the spark of 11J ignited, continues to be punished

San Antonio de los Baños, where the spark of 11J ignited, continues to be punished

Odalys remembers that day very well. “People began to come out from everywhere, headed for the park,” he evokes a year and a half after a popular protest in San Antonio de los Baños, Artemisa, ignited the spark for the historic demonstrations that shook Cuba. After that time, the reasons for the residents of the municipality to “take to the streets” remain intact: lack of liberties, inflation, blackouts and garbage accumulated on every corner.

“Look at that park for children, it’s pure rust,” the woman describes to 14ymedio. The destroyed sidewalk, the destroyed grass and three rickety swings make up the desolate panorama. Around the merry-go-round, bags of waste accumulate and a little further on, a mountain of rubbish borders the bridge over one of the tributaries of the Ariguanabo River. “Here you cannot live, we continue in the same situation.”

“You cannot live here, we are still in the same situation”

“The blackouts have already started again and they last up to six hours,” stresses the woman, who remembers going out “sounding a can and a spoon” that 11J to show her discomfort at the poor conditions of the small city, which one day It was an important agricultural center, a transport node between Havana and the southwest, as well as a frequent venue for humor festivals and cultural events. The International Film School, also undermined in resources and importance, is still maintained in its geography.

Unlike that Sunday in July, now the streets are only used by those on their way to work or school, those who are anxiously looking for some food and those who are heading towards an office to request a passport that allows them to travel outside the city. Island. The cries of “Freedom!” They have been replaced by the claims of a neighbor who hurries another to arrive on time and queue up for soap or frozen chicken. The trials against the protesters of that day have spread fear, just as waste of all kinds is spread throughout the city, without the Community trucks picking it up.


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