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Cubans Protest Amid Food Shortages and Power Cuts

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Cubanos Pa’lante founder Marley Pulido explains the protest in Cuba for food and electricity, describing it as a call for “basic needs.”
the details
Everyday Cubans have once again taken to the streets to protest chronic hunger and a lack of basic services such as electricity. On Sunday, citizens in the eastern city of Santiago braved police repression to make their voices heard. The US Embassy...
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Show transcript
00:00
So what's happening in Cuba to help us understand.
00:03
Here's one of the founders of Cubanos Palante Marli Polio.
00:07
Hey, what's up,
00:08
Marley? Hi, welcome,
00:11
welcome. So how are people's daily lives affected by the recent
00:16
long power outages in Cuba?
00:18
This is a very sad situation.
00:20
We're seeing people demand freedom,
00:25
food and power outages in like the same sentence.
00:29
power outages are not new growing up in the nineties,
00:33
we would spend many hours of the day without electricity.
00:37
But the economic crisis right now is worsening because the way
00:41
we're governing ourselves, like living in dictatorship with the centralized economy
00:45
were made to rely solely on the government to meet our basic
00:48
needs. So what happens on the island is that power
00:52
outages don't hit everybody the same way.
00:55
Power outages know what zip code not to hit out and,
01:00
and how are families and communities dealing with the shortage of food
01:03
in Cuba. This is equally sad because as I said
01:08
we're made to rely on the government,
01:10
but we're also made to rely on the government to stay fed
01:13
We're made to rely on them to eat rice and
01:16
beans and a fried egg.
01:18
So when we see people in power,
01:21
the government, the families running the country,
01:24
they're unable to provide.
01:25
We can't even have a healthy breakfast or a healthy lunch.
01:28
Just like with electricity.
01:30
Food knows with zip code to just like disappear from and
01:36
some neighborhoods are, some are more of a food desert than
01:39
others. It's a really weird situation that we're seeing right
01:45
now because the crisis just doesn't seem to end.
01:48
And what we are also seeing with the government is that they
01:51
know there's a crisis.
01:52
They know people are not happy.
01:54
So they're just introducing in a very like neo liberal capitalism
02:00
way, introducing austerity measures like raising prices of food,
02:05
raising prices of transportation,
02:07
raising prices of electricity.
02:09
So people are unable to pay at the current prices.
02:13
There's no food, there's no electricity and prices are going up
02:16
It's bonkers Esan organ,
02:19
like they're like drowning and instead of like helping them,
02:22
they're like throwing more water,
02:24
you know, and how are Cuban citizens helping each other during
02:28
these tough times? This is a very tricky question.
02:31
I'm a historian and sometimes I wish people would learn about more
02:36
horizontal ways and people center ways to help each other.
02:40
We've done it before and our history,
02:42
mutual aid societies were crucial to poor neighborhoods and poor communities before
02:47
1959. But right now,
02:50
as you said, people feel like they're drowning.
02:52
So it's even difficult to think about your neighbor.
02:57
So, are there any ideas being talked about to help fix
03:00
the crisis? I think before thinking about the ideas,
03:04
I wanna say that this crisis is not new.
03:07
We saw the largest protest that I had ever seen in 2021
03:12
and there's still over 1000 political prisoners from those protests.
03:16
People were demanding the same things or it's not just the economy
03:19
and until we get rid of the current political system,
03:23
until we get rid of the dictatorship or this like very centralized
03:28
way of running the economy,
03:29
we're not gonna be able to build the economic system that works
03:32
for all of us.
03:33
People are tired of the government,
03:35
they're tired living in fear,
03:36
they're tired of being over policed and silenced.
03:39
And today for the first time I saw someone post,
03:43
it was kind of like a serious post thinking about what would
03:47
transitioning to something else look like because this is not working for
03:52
us. And in a different political system,
03:54
these people in power will be removed from power.
03:58
But on the island where we have a centralized economy and a
04:01
centralized political way of running the country,
04:04
a dictatorship, it's difficult to remove people from power and find
04:09
different ways and experiment.
04:12
I'm also seeing people talk about the right that we don't
04:16
necessarily have constitutionally but the right to peaceful protest.
04:19
So I'm seeing an awakening of the political consciousness of folks on
04:24
the island and it's beautiful to see even when we're in a
04:27
really terrible crisis. Yeah,
04:29
the unity of the people and I hope they get their points
04:32
across and hopefully that there's change soon in Cuba.
04:36
Well, thank you so much Marley.
04:38
We really appreciate you coming on and,
04:40
and speaking more of this huge issues that are going on in
04:43
Cuba. how can people follow you and Cubans Palante?
04:48
What's the social handles that you guys have?
04:51
Yeah, you can follow us at Cuan Palante on Instagram and
04:56
Twitter. We're one of the organizations trying to truly mobilize
05:01
Cubans across the United States.
05:03
So, yeah, Palos A Cu Palante.
05:06
Thank you so much.
05:07
Thank you so much.