HAVANA, April 17th Cuba is the only country in the whole world that has practically no resources yet will waste what it has on political acts.The severe economic crisis the country is suffering right now with a lack of liquidity, made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic and measures applied by the US Government to pressure the Cuban Government, has led to brutal shortages across the island, and prices of products – essentials and non-essentials – sky-rocketing.
Long lines can be seen every day, where the traditional problem with transport and unsolvable housing continue, but this means very little to the Government, who wants to celebrate May 1st (International Workers Day) as if none of this were happening.
The wound from July 11th still hasn’t healed (it may never heal) and the Government wants to swim in the masses to show the world that it continues to have Cubans’ support. Before this, it went to great lengths to purge the island significantly of the opposition’s “bad blood” by waiving visa requirements to Nicaragua (in a plot, of course, with its partner-in-crime Daniel Ortega).
Careful though, I’m not talking about leaders of groups that stay in Cuba and do nothing, some prisoners, but also about the masses who, fed up with the current situation, took to the streets to protest last year when they saw that nothing was changing in the country many have decided to leave.
No official figures have been given, but it is estimated that tens of thousands of Cubans have left the island in recent months, most of whom have gone “to see the volcanoes”, as the popular joke goes.
As a result, the opposition has become a lot weaker, as I have been warning since the beginning of the phenomenon and, while I don’t think they are the minority, they have been weakened enough so that mass protests like 11J don’t break out again.
If we add to this the Government’s traditional coercion methods with public-sector workers, it’s pretty much a given that there will be thousands of people marching across the entire country on May Day.
I pointed out public-sector workers, but private-sector workers are also “assessed” at every call, and I don’t doubt that some of these workers will also join the parade, so as to get in their good books and not have them touch what they put so much effort into building.
Whatever the price is unimportant
However, the most serious thing about all of this is that none of this happens for free. It costs money, a lot of money, to organize a parade in every municipality, and the main parade in Revolution Square.
Resources have been allocated during meetings for months (including fuel to transport leaders and snacks), and to top all this off, barrels of fuel will be allocated to transporting people and their respective snacks on the day of the parade.
In a city where urban transport services involve an over an hour wait for every route, it’s inconceivable that on these two days (April 30th and May 1st), the few resources they we have are used to take and collect people who are going to do something as productive as walking towards their leaders.
Streets surrounding the Square will be packed as usual on the date with never-ending lines of buses, especially buses used for public transport, which arrive with workers in the wee hours of the morning and remain still pretty much all of the next day.
It goes without saying that anyone without their own means of transport can’t get anywhere in Havana, because everything is operating for May 1st.
Resources always show up for this, unlimited resources, as if the country was booming.
The important thing for the leaders is for the world to think that the Cuban people continue to support the Government, even though the vast majority that will parade below them are thinking the exact opposite. Not to mention the millions of Cubans who stayed at home.
Frankly, I didn’t think that in the current situation it would go through anyone’s mind and make them do something crazy like this, but they are hungry to show the masses. As we say here in popular slang, “they got served” with July 11th and they want to return the blow, whatever the price.