Cuban Exiles, Lawmakers Commemorate Anniversary of July 11 Protests

Pro-democracy protests have been over for one year BrokenCuba, the largest protest to the communist regime since Fidel Castro’s 1959 ascension was witnessed across the country. 

Protesters are frustrated by the worse economic crisis since the Cold War. The government’s ongoing repressions of musicians and artists and the persistent power outages have resulted in protests. Taken to the streets in the city of San Antonio de los Baños on July 11, 2021. The protests were captured on video viralCuban social media sparked weeks of rebellion against Cuba’s government. This is unlike previous revolts like 1994. Maleconazo These protests, which took place in Havana spread to other cities of Cuba and small towns.

The Cuban government was at that time Blamed U.S. sanctions were placed on Cuba for its economy’s current state. Protesters claimed that the demonstrations were part of an aggressive campaign by the U.S. along with other Western actors. They also blamed the government for their country’s dire state. toward President Miguel Díaz-Canel with vulgar chants. The state security forces responded with massive repression, cutting internet access across the island. ArrestThousands of people, including children, protested in the following days. There are more than 700. ContinueAccording to exile organizations, in custody 

Ahead of the anniversary, political prisoners, including Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara, one of the most well-known members of the Movimiento San Isidro, a group of dissident artists and musicians on the island, AnnoucedThey would start a hunger strike from behind bars. Numerous high-profile dissidents including Angel Moya Acosta and Berta Soler (founder of Ladies in White), were involved. ArrestedThey were afraid they would organise new protests in the days before the anniversary. 

Cuban state media largely responded to the anniversary in scorn. In a speech in Bauta, Díaz-Canel termed the protests as “unpleasant events” and focused on the “revolution’s defenders,” portraying the event as a triumph for the revolution. GranmaThe official newspaper of the Cuban Communist Party, ‘The Cuban Communist Party Newspaper, July 11, is also referred to as a day marked by “overwhelming victory.”

The anniversary was met with mixed reactions from Cuban-American politicians and exile groups across Florida Straits.  

“​​Afro-Cuban artists ignited a movement that inspired everyday Cubans of all ages to stand up in condemnation of decades of repression, censorship, indoctrination, and human rights abuses,” Sen. Marco Rubio (R–Fla.) Press release 

The communist regime still remains in place, despite widespread protests. However, many Cuban American politicians voiced their continuing support for those who demonstrated and also stated that this was a significant turning point in fighting against Cuba’s dictatorship. 

“The spirit of July 11th lives on today as a sign that after all these years the fall of the Raul Castro/Díaz-Canel regime is closer than ever,” Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar (R–Fla.The representative of South Florida’s Little Havana area, Elvira Salazar (R-Fla.) made the following statement: Reason. “The Cuban people are brave and will fight to resist the oppression of communism.”

The anniversary is also a reminder for exile groups of how little has changed since that time in Cuba. Omar Lopez Montenegro (Human Rights Director, Cuban American National Foundation) stated that “The causes behind July 11th still exist.” ReasonOver the telephone. Things have actually gotten worse. Both the economic and political situations have gotten worse. 

Although the Cuban government implemented liberalizing reforms and has restored Cuba’s tourism industry, the effects of the pandemic have not been felt in Cuba. miredIn shortages, and quickly rising prices. Also, the government continuedIt harasses journalists and dissidents, and doubles down on human rights violations. As a result, there has been a record amount of migration to the island. The Miami Herald According to reports, Coast Guard personnel have InterceptedSince October, more Cuban migrants have been arriving by sea than any other country in the past five years.

CANF, along with other exile organizations, will continue to play the same role. They see their main role as supporting dissident and activist groups on the island, both financially and politically. Their work is also important in the light of increasing resonance from social media. 

Many legislators are unaffected by their attempts to empower dissidents as well as hold Cuban government responsible. Rubio cites his “Patria y Vida Act,” which is named after a reggaeton tune that was a rallying cry for Cuba’s pro-democracy movement. Rubio WriteA recent Op-Ed by ADN AmericaHis bill is “U.S. businesses would be able to provide assistance to Cubans to bypass internetcensorship and to develop strategies to defeat regime-led blackouts.

All of them agree that the Cuban dictatorship’s anniversary is less important than the greater work they have done. 

Lopez Montenegro explained that “it’s not about any specific date.” It’s all about the struggle of one people.