Rare demonstrations caused by a deep economic crisis and the coronavirus pandemic have shaken Cuba in recent days.
A man was killed in an anti-government protest on Monday on the outskirts of Havana, the Cuban Interior Ministry said on Tuesday. manifestations spurred on by economic inequalities have shaken the island.
Protesters took to the streets of the Cuban capital and other cities in the country on Sunday to denounce the government of President Miguel Díaz-Canel in the middle food shortages and a deep economic crisis worsened by the coronavirus pandemic.
Rallies have received a wave of arrests and allegations of police brutality as authorities cracked down on protesters.
The Interior Ministry said Tuesday that it was “mourning the death” of a 36-year-old man named Diubis Laurencio Tejeda, who the state news agency said had been involved in the “riots.”
The Cuban News Agency said “organized groups of anti-social and criminal elements” had tried to reach the suburb of the La Guinera police station, with the aim of attacking its officials and damaging the infrastructure.
Several citizens and security officials were injured in the protest, the report also reports. It was not said how the man died.
This is the first confirmed death related to the protests, which are the largest in Cuba in decades.
Waldo Herrera, a 49-year-old resident of La Guinera, told Reuters news that the protesters “marched peacefully, shouting slogans such as” Down with communism, “” freedom for the people of Cuba, “” no we have medicine, we need food ”.
Herrera said protesters began throwing stones at security forces, who eventually responded with gunfire.
Diaz-Canel has blamed the unrest in the United States and called on supporters of the Cuban revolution to take to the streets on Sunday to counter anti-government protesters.
The Cuban president also said U.S. sanctions on the country fuel misery.
Cuba has also experienced a recent increase in coronavirus infections, as doctors and nurses urge people to get spikes to slow the spread of the virus. The country has reported more than 250,500 cases and more than 1,600 deaths to date, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday global Internet control firm NetBlocks said the Cuban government has restricted access to social media and messaging platforms, including Facebook and WhatsApp.
London-based NetBlocks said on its website that Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram and Telegraph in Cuba were partially disrupted on Monday and Tuesday.
“The pattern of restrictions observed in Cuba indicates an ongoing crackdown on messaging platforms that are used to organize and share news of protests in real time,” the group’s director, Alp Toker, said. “At the same time, some connectivity is retained to maintain an appearance of normalcy.”
The government did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Reuters.