Conflicts & War

Cuba returns to routine without internet, clear number of protest arrests

By Rachel Martori

Havana, Jul 15 (EFE).- The amount of detainees in Sunday’s protests in Cuba remained unclear Thursday, while the government adopted the first emergency measures to face the severe crisis that mobilized thousands of citizens to demonstrate in the streets.

Although authorities confirmed there are people arrested for their participation in the protests and riots that took place in different parts of the country, they didn’t give specific numbers.

Some international organizations and activists have circulated lists on social networks that quantify hundreds of detainees based on the events of recent days on the island, where no new incidents have been reported but a visible police presence remained in public spaces.

Meanwhile, in the country the daily routine continues its course, people go to work, continue to queue for long hours in stores to buy food and continue to wait for the internet to be restored on their mobile phones.

Most social networks and messaging platforms remained blocked Thursday, four days after the unprecedented demonstrations in which thousands protested the shortage of food, medicine and blackouts of several hours.

It was only possible to access the network in public parks that offer Wi-Fi wireless connection or through the Nauta-Hogar and ADSL services in homes, a service that many Cubans still cannot afford due to the high cost.

Experts said they believe authorities have cut the internet to prevent networks from stoking incidents that in some places became violent when confronted by protesters and government supporters.

Some young people even resorted to ingenious tricks to regain access to the network of networks and used platforms such as VPNs to activate their mobile devices equipped with 3G and 4G technology.

Currently connecting to the internet is an escape route for the population in the midst of the economic crisis and confinement due to the pandemic, and is also the main method with which the population within the island communicates with families abroad.

International organizations and some governments and leaders have condemned the Cuban government for the blackout.

United States President Joe Biden said Thursday he is studying whether his government has “the technological capacity to restore” access to mobile internet in Cuba. EFE


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