CrisisWatch Cuba

Unchanged Situation

Protests broke out in Cuba amid electricity and food shortages.

Demonstrators 17 March took to streets in at least five locations across Cuba, including second biggest city Santiago de Cuba, in response to prolonged power outages and food shortages. Protests were largest since anti-govt demonstrations erupted in July 2021 over worsening economic crisis and govt’s handling of COVID-19 pandemic. U.S. Embassy in Cuba 17 March urged govt “to respect the human rights of the protestors and address the legitimate needs of the Cuban people”. Foreign ministry 18 March summoned U.S. chargé d’affaires over comments and pointed to decades-long U.S. trade embargo in fuelling Cuba’s “difficult economic situation”. President Diaz-Canel, meanwhile, called for calm and accused “mediocre politicians and social media terrorists” in U.S. state of Florida of provoking unrest; U.S. dismissed allegations as “absurd”. Some analysts fear that deteriorating living conditions, including extensive power rationing, and poor economic outlook could fuel more protests in coming months.

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