Eye on Cuba Annual ReportPublished: Feb 7, 2023 Reading time: 2 minutes
The cases shown do not allow us to know first-hand the reality of Cuban civil society, which often faces repression from the authorities.
In the wake of the protests of 11 June and 15 November, the year 2021 was especially restless in the Cuban territory. The demonstrations were the consequence of a heap of events whose roots are to be found decades back. The economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States 60 years ago has caused a strong economic crisis, as there are over 200 measures that block commercial and financial transactions abroad, the purchase and sale of goods and services from Cuba and all kinds of foreign entities. While the recent creation of a new Constitution in 2019 recognises a series of rights and means to ensure them, it has proven ineffective to fight the huge political, social and economic crisis. Food shortages, the constant power blackouts, fuel scarcity and the high poverty index were made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic, as the Cuban authorities decided to close the borders for a whole year as a protection measure, which caused a decrease in income from tourism, a key economic activity in Cuban economy.
Similarly, the deficient governmental administration caused a shortage in medicines and particularly a strong health crisis. Given the evident discontent in the island, even one year after the onset of the pandemic, the social networks played an important role in lighting the spark that resulted in the June and November protests.