Cuban citizens picketed against the nation’s Communist government in Havana on Friday amid a reported failure to restore electricity in Hurricane Ian’s wake.
The hurricane reportedly caused Cuba’s power grid to collapse, Reuters continued. The hurricane also razed through residential areas and destroyed a vast amount of farmland.
Protestors expressed discontent with the fact that widespread power outages were impacting the country three days after Ian tore through the Caribbean island. (RELATED: Cuba Legalizes Gay Marriage)
When protests erupted Thursday night, the state experienced a total blackout as all communications via both cellphone and landline were shut down.
As the protests continued into the day Friday, multiple factions of Cubans gathered throughout Havana in areas where electricity had not been turned back on yet.
One picketer, Havana-based Jorge Luis Cruz, banged on pot and told Reuters that “All my food is rotten. Why? Because we don’t have electricity.”
“This isn’t working: Enough of this,” Cruz continued, according to the outlet, which also noted that food, fuel and medicine were all hard to come by even before the storm.
Pot banging is a common form of protest in the Latin American world but is “rarely employed” in Communist Cuba, Reuters noted.
— Steve Herman (@W7VOA) October 1, 2022
Cruz stated that his family was wary of him protesting out of concern that Communist authorities may take him to jail. “Let them take me,” he asserted in response. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Biden’s CIA Director Employed Undisclosed Chinese Communist Party Members While Heading Elite DC Think Tank)
Another protestor, Tiare Rodriguez, lamented to Reuters “We still don’t have light, and no one tells us why,” according to the report.
⚠️ Confirmed: Real-time network data show internet has been cut in #Cuba for the second evening in a row; metrics show a collapse in connectivity after 8 p.m. local time amid protests over poor conditions and power cuts worsened by Hurricane Ian 📉 #CubaPaLaCalle pic.twitter.com/YDJ6ZsTjwX
— NetBlocks (@netblocks) October 1, 2022
“Our food is going to waste. Our children’s milk has been lost. Who will replace it?” Rodriguez asked. “No one.”
“Havana today has more than 50% of its grid recovered, and about 60% of customers have electricity,” Cuban Communist party head Luis Antonio Torres claimed on a state-run television broadcast.
Citizens voicing political dissent in Cuba is reportedly rare, though the recent protests have reportedly remained peaceful. according to Reuters.
The most recent major anti-government demonstrations that took place in Cuba resulted in over 1,000 arrests. Many were jailed by the government citing crimes like vandalism, assault and even sedition. (RELATED: Hong Kong Man Arrested For ‘Sedition’ After Honoring Queen Elizabeth)
Even Cuba’s more affluent residents protested a lack of power as around 100 people gathered at a Communist party office in a comparatively well-off Havana neighborhood called Vedado, Reuters reported.