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The Explainer: What has sparked rare protests in Cuba?

Ruaridh Nicoll, a journalist based in Havana, joins us for this week’s episode.

FOR THE FIRST time in decades, Cubans took to the streets this month to protest.

Videos of people chanting “libertad” (“freedom”) were shared around social media – notable in part because mobile internet was only introduced in the country three years ago. The cry “patria y vida”, from an anti-government song, was also heard ringing out.

The protests came as the country experiences food shortages, medicine shortages and the spread of Covid-19. The pandemic, US sanctions and high prices have all contributed to a situation that many Cubans are finding untenable.

Many protesting were calling for massive change in the country – including political change. But President Miguel Díaz-Canel said that “destabilisation in our country” would be met with a “revolutionary response”.

What led Cubans to protest? And why were there reports of the electricity being shut off, people arrested, and journalists detained?

To find out more about what has been going on, and what it’s like in Cuba right now, on this week’s podcast we have Ruaridh Nicoll, an Observer journalist living in Havana. 

Here’s some of Nicoll’s recent reporting:

Don’t forget that you can now listen to our award-winning podcast directly from your app – here’s how.  

The Explainer / SoundCloud

This episode was put together by presenter Sinéad O’Carroll, producers Aoife Barry and Nicky Ryan.

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