Political protests in Socialist Cuba: The internet made them more visible in 2019, may spur more in 2020

LGBT activists in Cuba hold an unauthorized protest march.

Via Diario de Cuba:

Demonstrations in Cuba: What Happened in 2019, and What 2020 Will Bring

The first year of Internet coverage on cell phones triggered protest, on the Web and on the streets. What lies ahead?

On December 6, 2018 Cuba’s state communications monopoly, ETECSA, allowed mobile phone users to connect to the Internet. Until then the Government had sought to prevent a “Trojan horse” that threatened to nourish and promote a sector of independent civil society that had been alternately attacked and snubbed by the State.

If the Government had not allowed Internet access on cell phones, Cubans may not have quickly organised via social media to get food, clothing and other goods to those affected by the EF4 category tornado that hit the Cuban capital in January of last year.

And the call for a march against animal abuse in Havana, in April, would probably not have mustered as many people or received the media attention that it did.

And LGBTI activists would surely not have marched in the Cuban capital, from its Parque Central to El Malecón, questioning the authority of the National Center for Sexual Education (CENESEX) and the Government itself.

2019 will also be remembered as the year in which a group of Havana gamers demanded, on social media and on the street, the right to an informative and informal Internet network. Today Street Network (SNet) was absorbed by the Government, but its threats of protest kept the Ministry of Communications (MINCOM) in check for several weeks.

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2020: What Lies Ahead

Accurate forecasts of Cuba’s destiny are often difficult, if not impossible. Will civil society’s protests –or threats of them– continue in 2020? What other groups will try to take to the street? What other demands will be made?

We can already anticipate that animal protection groups will not relent, and that the women organised in support of multiple feminist initiatives will not tolerate Parliament’s refusal to pass legislation addressing violence against women.

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