What Is Happening in Cuba? What We Know. What We Suspect. What We Hope.

What Is Happening in Cuba? What We Know. What We Suspect. What We Hope.

Submitted by Liz Arza, an exiled Cuban dissident. (Connect with her email and Telegram)

[Note: We have added some of the videos from the writer, those not added can be found in her Telegram channel.]

What We Know

History was made on Sunday, July 11th 2021. For the first time in 62 years of dictatorship, Cubans in over 60 municipalities took to the streets to protest the Communist regime and demand their freedom from the oppressive criminal group that has enslaved, starved, abused and murdered its own people since its foundation. It was a spontaneous miracle. Exiled Cubans all over the world watched in awe and disbelief.

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We think the first protest erupted in Holguin, Fidel Castro’s birthplace, in the middle of the night during a blackout, following confrontations with the police (See Video 1)*. By 1:00PM, the world awoke to the fact that protests were erupting all over the island. Some of the first cities we learned about were Palma Soriano, San Antonio de los Baños, la Habana, Alquizar, Santiago de Cuba, Güines, Matanzas – it was like watching stars come out to illuminate a very dark sky (See Videos 2 – 7).

Massive protests in streets of Cuba. Submitted by author.

As exiled spectators, we cried. We cheered. We hugged our loved ones. We took to the streets ourselves in solidarity. We pleaded with our local politicians. And we glued ourselves to Cuban YouTubers’ channels. Alain Paparazzi has 2.2 million views for his 12 hour long live coverage where he played videos coming from the island.

The first videos of the day were beautiful: troves of people with Cuban flags, American flags, and signs reading “patria y vida” and “libertad,” chanting “Diaz-Canel singao” and “oye policia pinga” (See Videos 8 – 9). There were other more civilized chants. The two I have highlighted include profanities and are therefore being ignored by most news coverage. However crude, these chants are illustrative of the protesters’ frustration and courage. I could attempt to interpret them for you but the connotative anger would be lost in translation. Suffice it to say, these chants are direct affronts to the current dictator and his goons. Those words are enough to get you arrested, tortured and killed in Cuba.

Our enthusiasm was abruptly muted as the videos and images from the island changed. Here is the nightmare response we have witnessed from communist regime – During an emergency press conference, Dictator Diaz Canel declared that the streets of Cuba belong to the communists. He told the communist citizenry to take to the streets and confront the protesters.

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We saw videos of communists chanting “pin pon fuera abajo la gusanera” and people violently confronting each other. The chant translates to “down with the worms.” Fidel Castro gave dissidents that epithet. He also christened us “escoria” or trash, “parasitos” or parasites, “podridos” or rotten. We wear all those names as badges of honor.

The videos coming from the island showed an extraordinary amount of police and military presence. Trucks and busses transported massive numbers of law enforcement officers (See Video 12). We saw officers dressed in civilian clothes unload from trucks. Notice that the Cuban people are mostly in flip flops or bare feet in most videos. Now notice the combat boots these supposed civilians are wearing as they march with their canes.

Notice the combat boots these supposed civilians are wearing as they march with their canes. Submitted by author.

We saw large numbers of las Boinas Negras or the Black Berets (See Video 14). They are a special force, learned in martial arts. We fear them because we know the cold-blooded atrocities they are capable of. We also saw las Boinas Rojas or Red Berets; these are military captains and generals. We saw that the officers were using dogs, knuckles, batons, bats, and firearms.

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We saw that the officers were using dogs, knuckles, batons, bats, and firearms. Submitted by author.

We saw officers in strange, black armor.

We saw officers in strange, black armor. Submitted by author.

We know the Cuban citizenry does not have arms or any weapons with which to defend themselves. We know they are malnourished. We know they don’t even have proper shoes to run away in. We knew abuses were imminent. And we were right.

We saw police officers fire gunshots indiscriminately (See Video 15). We witnessed people shot (See Videos 16 – 19).

We saw our people throwing rocks to defend themselves, and officers throwing rocks too (See Videos 20 – 22). The courage of Cuban people really amazes me in these videos. They are literally fighting bullets with rocks. And when they cannot find natural rocks, they are breaking up sidewalks to create some.

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We witnessed beatings (See Videos 23 – 28). We witnessed arrests (Videos 29 – 31). We know that once the regime arrests someone, there is a high probability that person will never be seen again.

We saw police officers drag children by their four limbs and take them away from their parents and from their homes in the middle of the night. We do not know what they plan on doing with the abducted children (See Videos 32 – 35).

We saw police officers drag children by their four limbs and take them away from their parents and from their homes in the middle of the night. Submitted by author.

We heard from the family of a man who was beaten to death. His teeth and eyes were knocked out of his head (See Videos 36 – 37).

We know the government is mass arresting people. 14 y Medio reported there have been over 5,000 arrests or detentions.

We know people are disappearing. The Reporte de Centro de Denuncia FDP has a count of 338 missing people as of 3PM on July 15th 2021.

As night fell on Sunday the 11 , we received word that officers were going door to door, searching houses for makeshift weapons, and taking men and young boys into custody.

We saw a video of such a search. A family was inside their home with their three children when officers arrived and demanded to be let inside. The wife is seen holding one of her two-year- olds, while his twin brother stands close by. The family also has a 12-year-old son. She pleads with the officers to leave for the sake of her children.

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The officers knock down the doors and rampage through the house. They grab the husband to forcibly arrest him. They shoot him and carry him away. The wife sees how her bleeding husband is thrown in a truck with about a hundred other men. A pool of her husband’s blood is seen on the floor of her house. The family has now confirmed the death of the father, 36-year- old Diubis Laurencio Tejeda. He had peacefully participated in the Cardenas, Matanzas protest (See Videos 38 – 40).

We know the internet and electricity was shut off. We know that even though they have begun to turn the internet back on, people do not have the data or “megas” to view all the content that has been posted online. We know the videos and images are being taken down. That is why we are screen recording now.

Amidst all the violence, terror and death, dictator Diaz Canel has the audacity to tell the Cuban people that the videos we are seeing online are of protests in Egypt. And Venezuelan communist leader Diosdado Cabello has the nerve to say the videos of the protests in Cuba are not real; instead, they are Italian fans celebrating the Euro Cup.

What We Suspect

We suspect Sunday, July 11 , 2021 was the first of some very dark days awaiting Cuba, darker than what Cubans already know – a limit we thought impossible to surpass.

We suspect the Cuban regime is receiving aid from its allies, likely in the form of soldiers, law enforcement officers, weapons and ammunitions, and money. And we suspect they plan to show the Cuban people, an unarmed, malnourished people, great use of force.

We suspect they will use the children they are abducting for something reprehensible.

We suspect they are torturing and assassinating the people they are arresting at the protests or going house-to-house and rounding up. We know there are not enough jail cells for all the dissidents.

We suspect Venezuela. We suspect Mexico. Both a Venezuelan plane and a Mexican air force plane have landed in Cuba. We suspect Nicaragua. We suspect Bolivia. Brazil. Colombia. Canada. We suspect all countries in the hemisphere that have ever engaged Communist Cuba. We suspect China. Russia. North Korea. Iran. Vietnam. And all the other world communist powers.

We suspect the Biden-Harris administration will not help the Cuban people, but they may help the communist regime. What else can we expect when we know the Obama-Biden administration not only aided the communist regime, but also dined and watched baseball games with Raul Castro and Miguel Diaz Canel?

Plus, the Biden-Harris administration has had the gall to say the Cuban people took to the streets, risking arrest, abuse and death, over COVID-19 and vaccines. That was a statement of misinformation, originating from the Communist regime, which the Biden-Harris administration chose to parrot. Cubans in Miami have chanted “Biden es communista” or “Biden is a communist” in our solidarity protests.

We suspect Canada and Mexico will not help. The United Kingdom will not help. The European Union will not help. None of their leaders have steadfastly denounced the widespread violence and mass murder. No one has even mentioned humanitarian intervention.

We suspect the UN will not help. Historically, they are always the last to respond in genocides, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

For those wondering why the Cuban people took to the streets to protest the Communist regime, here’s why –

They have nothing to eat. Carnicerias or butcher shops in Cuba only have bones and fat for people. There’s no rice. There’s no bread. There’s no fish. There’s no milk. There’s nothing for people to eat.

Bones and fat is now food. Submitted by author.Bones and fat is now food. Submitted by author.Bones and fat is now food. Submitted by author.

There are no food shortages in regime-owned restaurants or hotels, however. But the Cuban citizenry cannot go to these restaurants or hotels and order a meal for him/herself. Those are only for tourists. Yet Cuban exiles can go on regime-run websites and order cooked meals to be delivered to their families from the regime-owned restaurants.

Now if you don’t have family in exile who put their self-respect and dignity aside and spend their dollars or euros at regime-run enterprises, there is nothing for you to eat. Though the exile community is large, there are A LOT of people in Cuba with no family or friends abroad.

Their homes are collapsing on them. There’s no infrastructure program for the citizenry. No safety regulations. Houses in Cuba are all at least 62 years old, with most of them over 100 years old. No materials with which to fix your house. No tools. No time since people must preoccupy themselves all day with finding something to eat.

They have lost their fear. Cubans are chanting “no tenemos miedo,” “we are not afraid” in the protests (See Video 42). There is a reason why they have to vociferously declare this. Consider that you do not hear first world protesters having to declare this. The Cuba communist regime has run a terror campaign against its own people for 62 years.

They have aired mass dissident assassinations on TV. They drop-in at people’s homes and threaten to kill or actually do kill their family. They have shot down planes from the sky. They have sunk ships. They have murdered children. By proclaiming “no tenemos miedo,” Cubans are taking their power back from the terrorist regime and denouncing six decades of terror.

For those wondering why an island-wide protest had never occurred before, here’s why –

Cell phones and internet are a brand-new commodity in Cuba. The Cuban people have had access to cellphones and internet for less than ten years. In 2020, the Cuban telecommunications company ETECSA announced 6.661 million people had cell phones and 4.421 million had internet access on their cell phones. Cuba’s population is 11.3 million. Therefore, less than 40 percent of the population has internet access on their phone.

And please don’t think that those with internet access are able to surf the web all day. No, Cubans pay for their gigabytes and minutes, per use (See Image 9). Those with family in exile have their phones “recargados” or recharged from abroad. When they run out of gigabytes and minutes, the phones just function as cameras. And of course, access to websites is monitored and controlled by the regime.

Nonetheless, internet and social media access has undoubtedly emboldened Cubans and helped them organize.

People feared Fidel Castro and his goons – for good reason. Diaz Canel does not arouse the same fear. Communist Cubans respected Fidel Castro. Communist Cubans do not have the same respect for Diaz Canel. It has always been a failing government, unwanted by the majority of the population but now people are desperate and fearless enough to say it out loud.

What We Hope

A little-known fact – during the American Revolution when the Continental Army’s coffers were empty, affluent Cuban ladies from la Habana and Matanzas took off their jewels and raised 1.2 million pounds sterling to feed, clothe, and pay the salaries of General George Washington’s army. They did it knowing the low credit worthiness of France and the U.S. colonies at the time. They did it because they believed the American colonies deserved freedom.

We hope America not only proclaims Cuba deserves freedom as many politicians are doing today. We hope America acts to ensure Cuba’s success just as the ladies from la Habana and Matanzas acted during the American Revolution.

We hope we are wrong about the Biden-Harris Administration, the countries in our hemisphere, European countries and the UN. We hope the international community acknowledges the severity of the communist regime’s abuses. We hope there is international collaboration to help the Cuban people.

We hope world governments and corporations come together to provide the Cuban people with unlimited access to the internet.

We hope the international community confers Cuba humanitarian intervention.

We hope the Cuban military stands down. The active Cuban soldiers are all seventeen- to twenty-year-old boys, forced into service. We hope Cuban law enforcement officers stand down. We hope Communist party leaders stand down. We hope they do not stand for the arbitrary arrests, torture, and murder of their fellow countrymen.

We hope the countries who are aiding the regime are brought to justice.

Exiled Cubans hope we are afforded the opportunity to join the battle, to help our countrymen, to fight for our country’s freedom. We are already seeing the US Coast Guard apprehending the private boats of Cuban immigrants and Cuban-Americans who are anxious to help our people.

We know a beaten down, starved, unarmed population cannot on its own take down the evil monster that is the Cuban communist regime. We hope the international community sees this and helps us.

We hope the efforts of exiles to bring awareness to what is happening in Cuba saves lives. We hope the communist regime steps down. We hope Cuba is freed. We hope we can set foot in our country again. We hope we can hug and kiss our families again.

* You will notice that in some of the videos, two female voices can be heard commenting. That is my mom and me. It was unintentional. I could have rerecorded and provided you with clean audio versions. However, I have decided to leave the authentic, uncensored commentary so those of you who speak Spanish can hear the genuine reactions of exiled Cubans. Please know most videos do not require Spanish knowledge to understand them.

Submitted by Liz Arza, an exiled Cuban dissident. (Connect with her email and Telegram)

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