APRIL 2023

The Cuban Conflict Observatory (OCC) registered 370 public protests in April 2023, a month in which a serious shortage of gasoline rained on wet over Cuba’s systemic crisis, while simple Cubans and personalities resorted to the open forum of social media or to face-to-face protests to denounce the inability of the Government and the system to resolve it, and to demand changes.

The April figure is only slightly lower than the 372 protests recorded in March. April’s 370 protest ranged from stark posts, memes and videos posted on social media to graffiti and in-person protests in parks and other public places.

The shortage of gasoline, which added to the string of calamities that daily life in Cuba has become, affected public and private transportation, caused miles-long queues at gas stations, turned normally crowded city places into deserts, paralyzed school classes and work activities and for the first time in decades forced the Government to cancel the traditional May Day parade. The diminished public transportation reminded those Cubans who lived through it the so-called Special Period of the 90s, when most of them had to commute on foot or by bicycle.

Also notable in the target period was an increase in protests motivated by urgent health care ailments that have not been addressed due to lack of specialists trained to treat them. The OCC has previously verified with medical sources on the island that the export of specialized doctors is one of the reasons that specialty consultations take months, to the point that patients have died before attending their appointments. In Mexico alone there are 610 specialists. A handful of protests compiled in April indicate that there is a lack of trained personnel to carry out urgent operations such as a liver transplant or the removal of a tumor, or even to suture a maxillofacial wound.


– The 370 protests recorded in April 2023 represent an increase of 25.94% compared to those registered in the same month last year (293).

– Shows of discontent compiled by the OCC in the fourth month of this year occurred in 14 of the 15 provinces of the island and the special municipality of Isla de la Juventud, unlike March, when they occurred in the 15 provinces and the island formerly named as Isla de Pinos. The most active province was Havana with 107 protests, followed by Holguín with 39 and Matanzas with 17.

– If in March the share of protests related to economic and social rights (ESR) was almost equal to that  based on civil and political rights (CPR) (49.2% ESR, 50.8% CPR), in April the number of ESR-based was higher (216, 58.4%) than the number of claims supported by CPR (154, 41.6%).

-The 216 ESR-related protests included written, graphic or video criticism uploaded to social media as well as statements to independent media about Government mismanagement, a severe gasoline shortage, high food prices, inflation, and other impacts on the people’s economy. Thes protests also targeted the critical state of health care, housing and transportation services. Social problems were equally denounced, such as low salaries and pensions, gender violence (27 femicides from January 1 to April 30), citizens insecurity and the rise of violent robberies, the growing number of homeless people and the impact of the crisis on the most vulnerable.

-The 154 protests linked to CPR included graffiti with anti-Government and anti-communist party slogans; criticism on the ineptitude of senior leaders; calls on social networks to change the system or introduce changes on it. Some were signed by ordinary citizens and some by personalities such as the priest Alberto Reyes Pías; revered musician Pedro Luis Ferrer and Gustavo Arcos Fernández-Brito, a professor at the Higher Institute of Art; protests in front of Government agencies such as the one carried out in Matanzas by professor Alina Bárbara López demanding freedom of expression; and reactions against State repression in all its variants: cruel and inhumane treatment in prisons; dismissals of higher education students; forcible extraction of Stalinist-style confessions; arbitrary and violent arrests; fines, threats and the continuation of a campaign by the political police against most-followed social media activists.

– In April, the number of protests related to the repression recorded by the OCC (93) continued to be the highest among all categories, although there was a noticeable decrease compared to the 144 registered in March.



A-) Protests based on Economic and Social Rights


After learning at the end of April of the murder in March by her former partner of 31-year-old Yunia Guerra Azahares, the number of femicides registered in Cuba between January 1 and April 30, 2023 rose to 27. This figure reached with the murder of Guerra in Palenque Arriba, Guantánamo province, equals in four months 75%, of the 36 deaths due to sexist violence that occurred during the 12 months of 2022. Femicide, stimulated by the Government’s inertia in the face of demands for a Comprehensive Law against Gender Violence in Cuba, was one of the foremost social problems that motivated citizens protests in April.

Another thorny social issue that keeps the population tense, that of citizen insecurity and the increase in robberies with violence, was denounced during the target period from several provinces. In Holguín several people were robbed, at knife point, of their “motorinas” (electric scooters), bicycles and mobile phones, among other belongings. A man from Holguin, Ernesto Almaguer Díaz, criticized the State law and order agencies for not paying attention to this situation and worrying “only about the carretilleros (street vendors of food, fruits and vegetables) and the political opponents.”

In Villa Clara, coachmen and cyclists have been assaulted, and more robberies by home trespassers have been reported, while in rural areas they steal cattle and draft animals. In Havana, sports journalist Julia Osendi described how her cell phone was stolen in broad daylight at the Paseo del Malecón. “YOU CANNOT GO OUT, LEAST AN ELDERLY WOMAN; NOT A SINGLE POLICE OFFICER THAT CAN HELP IN A SITUATION LIKE THIS (TWO PASSED ON ELECTRIC MOTORCYCLES THAT HAD NOT BEEN ALERTED BY THEIR HEADQUARTERS) AND THIRD, LIVING HERE HAS BECOME IMPOSSIBLE! ”, Osendi wrote on her Facebook profile.

Also exposed in April, and highly visible although poorly taken care of, was the increase in the number of people living in “streets, doorways, parks, corners.” In a post on Facebook, citizen Cesáreo Navas wrote that “Today, those who proclaim themselves as (the revolution’s) continuity have turned their backs on  these homeless people. They simply ignore them.”


In its previous monthly report, the OCC noted that the expression “We are starving” was one of the most recurrent in the economic and social protests of March 2023. In April, the United Nations World Food Program, WFP, confirmed that the complaints match the real situation.

The WFP acknowledged in a report that in Cuba “the supply of rationed food for the population group whose age ranges from 14 to 60 years only covers 36% of energy intake, 24% of the daily protein recommendations and 18% of fats”. It added that “the monthly minimum wage is insufficient to cover the nutritional requirements recommended for the Cuban population (2,300 kilocalories).” The document delves into the causes: it points out that the Tarea Ordenamiento decreed by the Government contributed to boosting inflation above expectations – a general 40% year-on-year from October 2021 to October 2022, and more than 70% in the food sector.

“As a result, the country experienced food shortages, including staple cereals (wheat flour, rice, and corn), beans, vegetables, dairy products, and meat (beef and pork),” the text adds, specifying that Cuban households spend 55 to 65% of their monthly income to buy food.

However, more recent data go beyond the WFP’s assessment. Cuba-based economist Pedro Monreal wrote on Twitter on April 26 that “the acceleration of food inflation in March 2023 is worrisome. The 75% year-on-year increase doubled the year-on-year variation from March 2022. It inevitably causes massive impoverishment in Cuba.”

The protests indicate that the dire food situation reported in March went unchanged though April. A family of two pensioners, both university graduates, described their only meal of the day to Iván García, a collaborator for Diario las Américas in Havana: white rice, two slices of tomato and an infusion of mint sweetened with a bit of honey. Elio and Selma told García that that’s what they can afford per day with the 4,000 pesos of their two pensions taken together.

In a long report by the independent newspaper 14ymedio, interviews carried out from the east to the west of the island describe a similar picture and sometimes worse ─people eating from garbage dumps or begging for chicken skins to eat some protein─; and an interviewee affirms that those who receive remittances from their relatives abroad do not fare much better, because the military-controlled stores in Freely Convertible Currency are empty. Products such as rice (150 pesos per pound), beans (150 to 160), sweet potato (40), cassava (50), and even cow’s milk (400 per gallon) are guaranteed only on the black market, although at prices that are not affordable for many. The minimum monthly salary is 2,100 pesos per month (USD 87) and the minimum pension is 1,528 pesos (USD 63).

One of the reasons for the shortage of agricultural products is the Government’s insistence on monopolizing the purchase, gathering, and marketing of 80% of the farmers’ production. Farmer Raúl Morales, from a cooperative in Encrucijada, Villa Clara, published several posts with photos and videos to show how those responsible for gathering his tomato harvest let it rot in the field. “I will continue to post videos and images so they can see how little interest Encrucijada officials have in the people having enough food on their tables,” Morales wrote on his Facebook wall.


Protests continued in April over the lack of resources in hospitals (Manuel Fajardo Surgical Clinic, Plaza municipality and National Hospital, Boyeros municipality, Havana), mistreatment of the public (La Balear Hospital, San Miguel del Padrón). Among several cases of negligence in the health care system reported in April, the most serious was a violation of biosafety measures with the hemodialysis machines of the “Lucía Íñíguez Landín” Clinical Surgical Hospital and the “Vladimir Ilich Lenin” University Hospital, both located in Holguin province. The equipment contamination left one person dead and dozens infected with the potentially-lethal hepatitis C.

Among other factors for the deterioration of medical care on the island, the demoralization of health personnel stands out. Dissident and now exiled doctor Alexander Jesús Figueredo summed up on Twitter the precarious working conditions that his colleagues face in Cuba: “Without medical supplies. (stethoscope, sphygmo, glucometers, sutures, gloves, adhesive tape, syringes, probes). Without medicines to care for the people (hypertensives, diabetics, asthmatics, oncology patients, pregnant women). Without medical resources (sheets, pens, prescriptions). Without a good diet. Without special attention to their breaks. No means of transportation. No means or spaces to claim or demand on behalf of their patients”.

Figueredo also mentioned low remuneration: “Salary of a specialist doctor in Cuba: 5,830 pesos, the equivalent of 32 dollars a month, or 384 dollars a year. 24-hour on duty, without rest time thereafter, for 50 pesos, equivalent to $0.30.” Doctors’ salaries, like those of all Cubans, have also been undermined by the growing inflation. One of the protests posted online in April was signed by a 25-year-old Guantanamo-based doctor, Luis Enrique Rodríguez. He decided to quit his profession after going by an appliance store and realizing that, to buy a blender, he would have to use two and a half months’ salary.

Manifestations of discontent in the field of health care also denoted in April a worsening on the deficit of medical specialists caused by them being  exported to other countries. An elderly man with jaw cancer has not been able to undergo surgery at the old Santa Clara hospital due to a lack of maxillofacial specialists. Neither was one available at the Holguín Pediatric Hospital to suture a girl with a wound on her chin. The life of a child under the age of three depends on a liver transplant and what is usually more difficult, finding the donor, has been resolved, but at the “William Soler” Pediatric Hospital in Havana they are telling his parents that there is no medical staff or the needed resources to perform the operation.

Havana undresses a saint ─ its impoverished people ─ to dress another ─ a foreign Government that can pay millions in hard currency for its slave doctors. As reported last December by Zoé Robledo, director of Mexico’s National Social Security Institute, the Cuban Government has sent 610 specialized doctors to that country alone. The doctors, a temporary. But significant loss for the Cuban health care system, are specialists in internal medicine, pediatrics, general surgery, general medicine, ophthalmology, nephrology, otolaryngology, imaging, intensive medicine, cardiology, trauma and orthopedics, gynecology and neurology.


“Not even the pandemic made this possible,” some Cubans have commented, contemplating the deserted streets of the island’s cities, not because of the Chinese virus, but due to a destabilizing gasoline drought. This new face of the multilateral crisis has had a strong impact on national life, affecting transportation, education, labor activities, and agriculture, among others. It has already been announced by the Government that the problem will not be resolved in May either.

For some consistency,  the traditional May Day parade was cancelled. President Miguel Díaz-Canel attributed the fuel shortage to involuntary non-compliance by countries that export oil and derivatives to Cuba, and said his Government had no idea how they could get out of the crisis.

However, Jorge Piñón, an energy expert from the University of Texas at Austin, told Radio TV Martí that Cuba has received enough oil and fuel from Venezuela this year, including a supertanker (Nolan) that arrived on the island at the end of March with 1.5 million barrels of diesel and heavy crude. On the other hand, the Reuters agency reported at the end of April that supplies from Russia and Mexico seem to be compensating, in part, for an insufficient volume of finished fuels from Venezuela. Citing official data and other sources, Piñón recalled that in the last 10 years Cuba has exported its gasoline surplus, which ─ he said─ could explain the gasoline shortage. He outlined the possibility that “the need for foreign exchange is so great that they are willing to sacrifice domestic demand and create this situation.”

The availability of State buses in Havana, a city with two million inhabitants, has decreased, and is currently below 50% due to the fuel crisis. Regarding the effect on the population of this scarcity of public transportation, Reuters quotes Rubén Infante, a 37-year-old tobacco worker who lives in Alamar, a suburb east of Havana. Infante said that it takes him up to three hours a day to get to the city and another three to return. Normally it takes him about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, hundreds of car and taxi drivers have slept for up to five days in their vehicles, queuing by  gas stations as they wait for a tanker truck that nobody knows when will arrive.

If the gasoline shortage is inexplicable, so are ─judging by the volumes of crude that Cuba has reportedly received─ the blackouts of seven hours and more, even during peak demand hours, attested to by complaints issued in April from numerous points of the island. The Unión Eléctrica always alleges that they are caused by breakdowns in Cuba’s obsolete  thermoelectric plants, and never mentions the oil they use to work. But the real motivation could be to save now enough tons of fuel to prevent in the summer of 2023 another blast of the social boiler like the one occurred in the summer of 2022, which was detonated by electricity cuts of up to 12 hours and lasted three months.


The Cuban Observatory of Conflicts also compiled protests in April in relation to water supply services, funeral services, legal procedures and daycare centers.

In the midst of an intense drought, the protests indicate that water did not run through the pipelines for 15, 20 or more days in communities of Pinar del Río, Havana, Camagüey and Holguín. Neighbors cannot either trust that they will receive water in a “pipa” (tanker truck) from the State, so they are forced to raise up to 1,500 pesos to pay a private tanker truck driver.

Complaints about the lack of hearses continued in April also. In Consolación del Sur, Pinar del Río, they carried a deceased on their shoulders, while in the provincial capital the transport for a corpse was one of those makeshift motor bicycles known as “riquimbilis”. Relatives of the dead buried in the Mayabe cemetery, Holguín province, expressed their anger over the open graves and exposed bones they found.

On the other hand, at least two protests originating in Santa Clara and Sancti Spiritus deplored the long lines for any legal procedure and the delay of up to six months to receive legalized documents.

Lastly, from La Lisa in Havana province; Alquízar, in Artemisa; the city of Camagüey and Mayarí, Holguín protests came out about the círculos infantiles, or daycare centers: they highlighted poor nutrition; limitations to get a child registered, most often paying bribes, and the closure of many of these nurseries created to help working mothers.


In April the OCC continued recording protests motivated by the housing crisis. A deficit of 862,879 housing units according to official figures for 2021, and more than one million according to independent scholars, only promises to keep growing, given that the State has been ignoring the problem lately, reducing its construction plans and failing to comply with them. In 2022, only 21,229 homes were built, for 58% compliance.

The Government has urged people to build houses by their own efforts but does not provide resources for such undertakings. Instead, it keeps evicting Cubans who build a roof where they can, and then demolish their shacks. The critical housing situation has led to an increase in illegal occupations of empty houses and locals, some of them in the month of April.

Adibel Palomino Guevara, a 22-year-old resident of Manatí, Las Tunas, told Cubanet that she lives together, with her in-laws, in a rustic, extremely poor “house,” along with her husband, their five-year-old daughter, and a pair of two-year-old twins. Palomino Guevara recounted that, due to their situation, she occupied an uninhabited office of the family doctor, but Public Health authorities removed her from the place.

Yanaisa Esperanza Buides García, a single mother, pregnant and with a little girl, says she is “pretty much afraid” of being taken out of a disused state premises where she entered illegally a little over two months ago, and from which she could now be evicted by the regime.

With the Penal Code that entered into force at the end of 2022, these illegal occupations became a crime punishable by six months to two years in prison.

B-) Protests based on Civil and Political Rights


Repression of political prisoners and their family members

Of the 93 protests related to the repression compiled in April, 56 have to do with harassment of political prisoners and their families. Fifty family members partially described that ordeal in a letter sent in April to Roberta Metsola, President of the European Parliament:

“What can we say then about the quality of life of the incarcerated and especially those deprived of liberty for political reasons, who suffer from famine, lack of medical attention and diseases of all kinds, bullying by common prisoners, beatings and extreme punishments, including threats to their relatives who, certainly, receive all kinds of pressure, suffer movement and assembly restrictions, their regulatory visits are sabotaged, and they are blackmailed into alleviating the situation of their loved ones to some degree, in exchange for accepting ideological re-education, and giving up their search for justice and international solidarity”.

The picture becomes more gruesome when reviewing the specific protests. Political prisoners denounced in April a worsening of the food crisis to the point that some are fainting.

-From the Kilo 8 prison in Camagüey, political prisoner Reinier Calderín Socarrás told Radio TV Martí that the number of malnourished and underweight prisoners is growing, as they receive for food less than 50 grams of rice, less than 30 of broth and less than 20 grams of “entrée”, often pork brains or mincemeat water.

-The lack of medicines and specialized medical assistance has also worsened in prisons, to which an annoying infestation of bedbugs has added.

-Denunciations of torture and cruel treatment also continue to come out. Family members denounced that torture known as La Bicicleta, which consists of handcuffing the inmate and pushing him down a staircase, was applied in the Boniato prison to political prisoner Jorge Reinier Arias García, a participant in the 11J uprising in Palma Soriano, Santiago de Cuba province.

-Political prisoner Lizandra Góngora, also from the 11J protests, was transferred at the beginning of April from the El Guatao women’s prison in Havana to a penal center on Isla de la Juventud, so that “she would be 160 kilometers from her home and the only way to visit her would be by boat or by plane,” the legal group Cubalex said.

-Before her transfer, Góngora had denounced that she was harassed by common prisoners at the instigation of State Security. Several protests processed in April by the OCC confirm this practice of harassment.

Repression in the streets

As for the repression in the streets of the island, the April protests highlight has to do with the continuation of the political police campaign against the activists on social media.

-Yasmany González, known on social media as Yasmany Libre Libre, was summoned to the Zanja police station in Havana for his posts critical of the social situation in Cuba. He was warned that if he posts again, he will be prosecuted for disobedience. Later he was arrested on suspicion of having left several graffiti with anti-Government slogans claimed on the networks by an entity that calls itself El Nuevo Directorio.

-Activist Sulmira Martínez, known in cyberspace as Salem Cuba, was shown on the State Security television program Razones de Cuba, making a Stalinist-style confession. According to her mother, they put a paper in front of Sulmira and ordered her to read it, so that she could be released after being in prison for almost four months. Instead, she was transferred to the El Guatao prison. The young woman has been accused of “incitement to commit a crime” after she wrote on her Twitter account #salemcubacensura: “I’m planning a demonstration, it’s for the street, not behind a screen.”

-In Camagüey, activist Ienelis Delgado Cue, known on social networks as Mambisa Agramontina, was transferred in preventive detention to the Kilo 5 women’s prison. Delgado was arrested on Tuesday, April 4, accused of a crime of contempt. She had previously supported the family of Aniette González, arrested on March 23 in the same city for posting on social media photos of her body covered with the Cuban flag.

-In another modality of this campaign, Reniel Rodríguez, a vocal teenager known on social media as Lunatico Debates, was expelled from the Carlos Marx High School Vocational Institute of Exact Sciences, in Matanzas.

Challenges to the repression

April saw a multiplication of the challenges made from Cuba’s independent civil society to the country’s inept and change-resistant leaders and the repressive status quo, either through social media or through face-to-face protests:

-A protest carried out by imprisoned demonstrators from 11J occurred on Wednesday, April 26 in the Combinado del Este prison, shortly after a similar one took place at the Quivicán prison, in Mayabeque province. After they were mistreated by Combinado prison guards, Roberto Pérez Ortega, Rolando Vázquez Fleita, Eduardo Álvarez Rigal and Armando Cruz Aguilera shouted slogans such as “Patria y Vida” and “Down with Díaz-Canel” and were beaten, locked up in punishment cells and later dispersed in other galleys.

-Professor Alina Bárbara López held a protest at Matanzas’ Parque de la Libertad, nearby the provincial government headquarters, demanding with a poster the release of La Joven Cuba detained journalist Jorge Fernández Era, as well as respect for freedom of expression.

– The Cuban journalist and professor José Luis Tan Estrada replicated the initiative of professor López with a peaceful protest in the Ignacio Agramonte Park in Camagüey. Tan Estrada called for a democratically elected National Constituent Assembly, State attention to retirees, pensioners and families in extreme poverty, freedom without exile for political prisoners and an end to harassment of people who exercise their freedom of expression.

– A big sign with the slogans “Canel assassin, Homeland and Life, Freedom” appeared on a wall of the railway station in the town of Manacas, Villa Clara.

– A graffiti painted with big black letters that said “No to the PCC (Communist Party)” dawned on Monday, April 17, on the wall of the main entrance of the University Stadium, next to the University of Havana. The action was claimed by an organization that calls itself El Nuevo Directorio (The New Directory).

– Three days later, on April 20, El Nuevo Directorio left another similar grafitti on the walls of the historic Humboldt 7 building, where the Fulgencio Batista dictatorship massacred four young survivors of the assault on the Presidential Palace on March 13 1956.

– In an interview with the Spanish Catholic newspaper El Debate, Alberto Reyes Pías, a Catholic priest of the diocese of Camagüey assured that in Cuba “there is no going back, because now we have seen the true face of those who for years spoke to us day by day saying that they loved us and wanted our good. Now we know that everything was a lie, and that neither their hands nor their voices waver when it comes to proclaiming destruction and death, and inciting war of brother against brother.”

-Bárbara Farrat, mother of the young political prisoner of 11J Jonathan Torres Farrat, challenged the threats made to her for demanding the freedom of her son with daily pot-bangings at 8 at night.

– Gustavo Arcos Fernández-Brito, a professor at Instituto Superior de Arte, denounced on his Facebook wall the multilateral crisis facing Cuba and blamed the authorities “for the current calamity and poverty of the country”, saying that meanwhile “they spend their time harassing the families of those who are critical of that ineffective model.”

– Farmer Raúl Morales, from Encrucijada, Villa Clara, denounced in several posts filled with photos and videos how the local leaders of the agricultural sector allowed his tomato crop to rot in the field. “Due to the level of irresponsibility of the directors who call themselves representatives of the people, (but) do not care about the people at all, it is that this harvest and others always end spoiled,” Morales accused.

– Matanzas-based State-employed journalist Yirmara Torres Hernández criticized on her Facebook wall the lack of rigor of the Cuban leaders and considered that the Cuban economy “is a ship adrift.” “As long as in this country they prefer to listen to what is convenient, to what sounds good to the ears of politicians, and uncomfortable truths are not heard and accepted, nothing will get better,” she said.

– Revered Cuban musician Pedro Luis Ferrer wrote on his Facebook profile: “How much I would like to see the climate of expressive freedom that our country needs for its happiness and development expand throughout the island, and prison stop being an option against those who express their legitimate discontent (…). I have repeatedly stated that I conceive of a pluralistic Nation State that welcomes and defends all the ideological and political diversity of society. This supposes an evolution in the design of the current State”.

– Members of the Cuba Mourning Movement, which brings together relatives of political prisoners, called on Cubans not to participate in the May Day parade, which they deemed a lie, a circus and a play promoted by the dictatorship. The parade was called off due to the gasoline crisis.


– The possibility that public protests will once again take to the streets of the island have been exacerbated by the fuel crisis, and the regime fears it. On Thursday morning, April 20, members of the repressive National Special Brigade of MININT (Black Berets) were present nearby San Agustín, in the capital’s municipality of La Lisa, after a protest broke up of passengers angry at the delay of the public buses, Radio Television Martí reported

– The growing criticism and discomfort of Cubans ─expressed in posts, memes and videos─ at the ineptitude of Díaz-Canel and his cabinet, which have gone from hiding, manipulating or sweetening their failures to admit them and say brazenly that there will be no solutions for the time being or that they do not know how to find a solution.

– Economists such as Pedro Monreal, Elías Amor and Omar Everleny Pérez do not forecast under the current conditions any relief but rather an increase in the inflationist process triggered by the Tarea Ordenamiento. In the vital area of food inflation reached 75% year-on-year from 2022 to 2023. More inflation would further worsen the economic vicissitudes and the resentment of the population, which invests 55 to 65% in buying food. Monreal has also denounced how 12 times more investment is dedicated to tourism, a business controlled by the GAESA military group (33.5% in 2022), than to activities that should be prioritized such as agriculture (2.6 in 2022).

– The lack or deviation of financial resources and the immobilist attitude of the power elite prevent making the necessary investments in two critical areas: electricity generation and food production, as well as market changes that could boost the latter and alleviate the food crisis. Although the Government may now be extending power cuts in order to save fuel to avoid in the summer of 2023 a social explosion similar to the 2022 one, the increase in demand with the arrival of summer heat could cause new massive blackouts considering the ruinous and insoluble state of Cuba’s National Electroenergetic System. That was the spark that lit the island from mid July to mid October in 2022, with Cubans marching, protesting, banging pots and blocking the streets almost daily in numerous towns and cities.

– The image of the regime, an important factor in obtaining credits and private loans as well as  cooperation for development, continues to score negative points. In this month Cuba classified as the poorest country in the world according to DatoWorld, with 72% of its population living below the poverty line. The island was also registered, along with Venezuela and Nicaragua, among the most critical points in the region in terms of freedom of information, according to the Inter-American Press Association. Besides, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights published a study that reveals breaches of the rights of workers in Cuba related to “job precariousness, worsening hiring conditions, absence of measures to protect health and job security, and lack of freedom of expression in the workplace, leading to disciplinary sanctions, expulsions and even unfair dismissals”.

– Havana has continued to strengthen its relations with Russia, providing not only diplomatic and media support for its invasion of Ukraine, but probably also in the strategic military and intelligence fields. On his eighth visit to Cuba at the end of April, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov did not rule out the establishment of Russian military bases on the island. On the other hand, in March a little-publicized meeting took place in the Cuban capital between the MININT senior staff, including Minister Lázaro Alberto Alvarez Casas, and their counterparts from the Russian Security Council, led by its secretary, Nikolai Patrushev. He also met with Raúl Castro and his designated president, Miguel Díaz-Canel. One area in which MININT could cooperate with Russia is its vast experience in circumventing economic sanctions by relying on allied anti-American Governments and international criminal and terrorist organizations.

-At the same time, the regime is advancing its talks with the Biden administration in pursuit of a détente that generates economic dividends for them without giving back too much. It recently accepted, after two years, the first return flight of deportable Cubans from the US, and later obtained an exemption from the Office of Foreign Assets Control, OFAC, to export cars, trucks and tractors to the alleged Small and Medium Cuban private companies. These are usually led by former spies and officers of the Ministry of the Interior and the Armed Forces.

At the beginning of October, Negolution magazine published a most criticized report on “the solidarity of Cuban entrepreneurs.” It featured a picture of alleged businessmen from Cuba’s “non-State” sector, among them Carlos Serpa Maceira, a former spy infiltrated as a journalist within the Damas de Blanco; another mole already disclosed, a physician by profession known as Agent Fernando, who may have been involved in the murder in 2015, in a Havana hospital, of Laura Pollán, leader and founder of the Damas; Yoandy Riverón, a State Security  officer responsible for politically motivated expulsions at the Universidad Central de Villa Clara; and Norma Goicochea,  former ambassador of the regime in Belgium. According to the new small and medium companies law, these “private entrepreneurs” will be allowed to have foreign partners.

– Indicating that they might concede to Washington’s main demand for a new thaw in relations ─and recycling the model used in 2010 with the prisoners of conscience of Cuba’s 2003 Black Spring─ Díaz-Canel and several cabinet ministers met by the end of April with the island’s Catholic Church leaders, who later reported that there is a ” Government will”  to discuss the release of the more than one thousand political prisoners. Any negotiation in this sense must contemplate that the release should not be conditional on the forced exile of those being decarcerated nor repressive measures should be taken against those who decide to stay.

Political opponents of the regime are asking for more: that the bar be raised to the height of decriminalizing political dissent. We wish the Biden administration could present the regime with an offer it cannot resist in exchange for the promulgation and verifiable application in Cuba of this golden rule of human rights. Unfortunately, President Obama’s failed attempt with Raúl Castro, and the recent hardening of Cuba’s Criminal Code prophesy the opposite.


Observatorio Cubano de Conflictos

Cuba Protests Monthly Report, April 2023

A-) Protests based on Economic and Social Rights


La periodista Julia Osendi sufre asalto en el Malecón de La Habana



“Mi bodega huele a pobreza; tan solo de acudir me siento miserable”



Con donante pero sin médicos: Un niño de tres años espera por un trasplante para sobrevivir

Dama de Blanco con VIH es enviada a su casa por falta de medicamentos en hospital

Ni material de cura, ni medicinas: joven ingresado tras asalto vive una pesadilla

Con donante pero sin médicos: Un niño de tres años espera por un trasplante para sobrevivir

Una persona fallecida y decenas contagiadas con hepatitis C tras recurrir a hemodiálisis en Holguín



Familias con viviendas sin terminar: Les dicen que esperen 15 días, pero han pasado dos años

“No tengo dónde estar”: Régimen amenaza con desalojar a una embarazada

Jóvenes madres cubanas viven en ranchos: “Yo quisiera tener una casa”



CUPET asegura que Cuba no exporta gasolina en medio de la actual crisis de combustible

Universidades cubanas cierran sus puertas por crisis de combustible

Universidades cubanas cierran sus puertas por crisis de combustible




B-) Protests based on Civil and Polítical Rights




Internauta denuncia la situación de los ancianos en la Isla

“Mi bodega huele a pobreza; tan solo de acudir me siento miserable”


C-) Points to consider for the immediate future

Llega a La Habana primer vuelo en más de dos años con migrantes irregulares desde EEUU

Critican a la revista “Negolution” por presentar a agentes de la Seguridad como “emprendedores”