Viva la revolución?

There’s still no room for dissent in post-Castro Cuba. 

Last year, anti-government protests – rare in Cuba – rocked the capital Havana leading to the arrest of hundreds of individuals. Many were condemned to lengthy jail sentences. The government is unlikely to loosen its grip over the country in 2022, even as economic challenges – such as high inflation, a severe scarcity of goods and dwindling supplies of hard currency continue to make life difficult for Cubans.  

A diplomat at Cuba’s foreign ministry explained, “I can understand the protestors and the cause to push for a more prosperous future is a worthy one. If you cannot afford to buy dinner, lunch and breakfast, of course you will feel motivated to take to the streets. Despite finding ourselves decades after the revolution, we lag behind the world in many areas. We have great doctors and scientists but it is of little use so long as we remain in political and economic isolation.” 

“I can understand the protestors and the cause to push for a more prosperous future is a worthy one. If you cannot afford to buy dinner, lunch and breakfast, of course you will feel motivated to take to the streets.”

A diplomat at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Cuba

Discontent may spark sporadic bouts of civil unrest over the coming year. Even so, the unrest will not seriously challenge the power of the Cuban Communist Party. Anti-government protests will involve only relatively small groups of dissidents, and security forces will likely be highly effective in containing them. 

A Cuban activist who previously worked in the ministry of education of Cuba, explained, “Two paths that must go in parallel is the civil resurrection calls for a change in the economic model and a democratic transformation. They must work together, because what would be the use of being more democratic if we do not generate enough wealth or what is the use of generating financial resource if there is political ability to distribute it fairly.”

“Two paths that must go in parallel is the civil resurrection calls for a change in the economic model and a democratic transformation.”

An activist, Cuba

The point to be negotiated is divided, from some who seek a historical judgment against the Castro leadership to the more radical ones who seek open confrontation without negotiation, which would be the most expensive solution. Activists are also appealing for the Cuban diaspora to return to its homeland and recover what was expropriated more than half a century ago. 

Civil unrest will more likely target the central government as opposed to private businesses or their assets. Even so, businesses are likely to face operational disruptions during protests and unrest but be in little doubt, it’s politics not Cuba’s nascent private sector that continues to sow discord among an increasingly embittered citizenry.  

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