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We close the streets. And now?

HAVANA, Cuba.- If what millions of Cubans have longed for happens today or tomorrow, no one can say that the events were instigated from abroad, by the usual “mafia”. After the passage of Hurricane Ian, Cuba has become the most Dantesque of nightmares. Entire neighborhoods have been without electricity for more than three days. The images of Pinar del Río, Batabanó and other areas directly affected by the meteor show that we will not come out of this even with makeup, as the PCC officials usually do so that the world believes that they are doing something.

More than 80% of the houses in the municipality of San Luis, in the westernmost of the provinces, were partially or totally destroyed. As much as there is talk of solidarity, so much damage cannot be reversed in two days or two years; not with the very serious economic situation that the country is going through. People have been left without food, without drinking water or liquefied gas, without a roof over their heads. They have seen the little food they had obtained rot after fighting almost to the death with their countrymen in those infernal queues that unleash the worst in Cubans.

Chicken and hash in the trash, spoiled. The children gobble up the sausages, which last a little longer, but will soon rot anyway. On television, officials have lied over and over again; They have assured support, but with conditions, demanding that citizens must first be supportive of each other. Solidarity with what? How? What can offer those who lost everything?

Crisis on crisis. Disaster upon disaster. Infinite hunger that lands on months of merciless blackouts, of disproportionate inflation with the dollar rising to 200 pesos, a figure where it has stayed for the moment, sure that now, with more accumulated misfortune, the undecided will end up being convinced that they have to leave . Bidding will resume soon, wilder than ever.

In the poor neighborhoods, once again, the citizen protest makes its way. People closing the streets and demanding the attention of a government that wants them and their children to die, so that they stop being a problem. With the branches of fallen trees they block the roads, stop traffic, claim and wait, hand in hand, for the next spokesman to come with a full belly to explain that all these hardships are the fault of the hurricane, that the service will be restored little by little. Little by little, do not despair.

No one remembers the general blackout of last August 18, when not a breeze blew, and the whole of Havana was left without power for an hour. It was a clear warning from the National Electric System, which could not withstand the impact of a category three hurricane. Pinar del Río once again took the worst part; but never, not even with meteorological events of superior strength, had the country been left in total darkness.

A dictatorship that boasts of rationing sausages will not be able to remedy so much damage. The external factors that have influenced the severity of the Cuban crisis continue to worsen. Vladimir Putin has just annexed four Ukrainian territories in an illegitimate referendum, which means that the war will continue and with it the world energy and food debacle.

For Cuba, which produces absolutely nothing and is used to begging for food, supplies and some money from its ideological partners, this is the worst of news. Right now each government is looking for strategies to minimize the effects of the war on their respective economies. Neither can be too generous.

Cubans resort to peaceful protest once again because they do not want -or cannot- understand that we have already been through this and the result was more than a thousand political prisoners. The repressive forces are ready to smash through the weak barricades. There is not a single decent soldier who is hurt by the situation in Cuba, no one who intercedes for a people that is in real danger of death and has not decided to change its fighting strategy.

Branches and complaints can do nothing against a dictatorship that woke up on September 28 singing victory for the anniversary of the CDR, while thousands of people in western Cuba lost everything. It is logical to feel dazed under the weight of so many misfortunes; but so is acting in defense of ourselves, our children, and our country. Not all of us can flee, but enough of insisting on the same methods to achieve a dignified life in the land where we were born.

Closing the streets is not enough. Let no one put up with one more teque from an official. It is time to defend ourselves, to go further. It is legitimate and necessary. They are destroying us in the eyes of the international community. They laugh at us with their stupid justifications while our children go hungry, they fall asleep at their desks after a bad night between blackouts and mosquitoes, and to top it off they break our hearts when they ask: “why don’t we go live to another country?”.

If we are not able to do something for our children; if we cannot get out of the hole where we have gotten ourselves based on cowardice, credulity and laziness; If our only response is to conform to this reality that crushes and discards us, then we deserve to die. The problem is with us. Us against them.


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