Remembering ‘El Maleconazo’ in Cuba, 29 years later

Although large scale protests in Cuba remain rare, the Cuban people have been protesting the oppression and brutality of the communist Castro dictatorship for decades.

Via the Center for a FREE Cuba:

Maleconazo #5A at 29

Cubans have been calling for freedom for decades. On July 11, 2021, tens of thousands of people around the island took part in statewide protests. On August 5, 1994, however, hundreds, if not thousands, of Cubans took to the streets for the first time since the early 1960s. It happened in Havana and it is known as the Maleconazo.

Porno para Ricardo, a Cuban punk rock band, released a whole album titled Maleconazo Ahora! in 2013 to commemorate the August 5, 1994 protests, with the cover depicting a screen grab of a defiant protester from that day and calling for many more such protests. In 2012, they also produced a track called “El Maleconazo” to commemorate the 18th anniversary of the mass demonstration.

On August 1, 2023, Notes from the Cuban Exile Quarter published an essay comparing 11J and 5A, two historic moments of spontaneous eruptions of public defiant appeals for the end of dictatorship and for freedom. During these huge protests, the regime used lethal force and made mass arrests. Democratic Spaces in 2020 made an outstanding English video overview.

It is also worth noting that over 35,000 Cubans signed the Varela Project lobbying the Cuban government for democratic change and human rights between 2002 and 2004. This initiative of the Christian Liberation Movement cost hundreds of its members years in Cuban prisons. On July 22, 2012, their founder leader Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas, and youth leader Harold Cepero Escalante were assassinated by the secret police.

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