*NOTE FROM OCC: Ever since the popular uprising of July 2021, the Cuban regime has toughened its laws and decrees, targeting the Cuban people’s exercise of their basic freedoms of opinion, information, and expression with severe sanctions—including prison sentences—in all its possible forms. Taking into account the risks faced by Cubans who dare to protest against State repression, the hardships imposed on them, or the government and the communist system, the Cuban Conflict Observatory identifies in its monthly reports protests in the following forms: line-of-fire demonstrations such as sit-ins, pot-banging, and marches; graffiti; statements to independent media; comments left in official media forums; and posts, photos, videos, memes, and livestreams on social media. Also included are any other formats, such as drawings and musical or poetic compositions.

Cuba, 589 protests in July: Neighbors without electricity block traffic; peaceful mothers’ March to Plaza de la Revolution is thwarted; citizens continue to call on the government for answers.

Public protests in Cuba grew by 42.3% in July compared to the previous month. The Cuban Observatory of Conflicts (OCC) counted 589 protest demonstrations in the seventh month of this year, 175 more than the 414 registered in June.

The latest OCC monthly report points out new direct criticism of the Government by personalities of national importance such as the economist Pedro Monreal, comedians Ulises Toirac and Rigoberto Ferrera, and novelist Leonardo Padura, as well as citizens of various social strata and professional profiles who to unleashed their anger after being affected by the multiple edges of the general crisis.

Collective protests also took place in July, such as a planned march by mothers to the Plaza of the Revolution to demand milk for their children, which was thwarted by the political police; sit-ins of residents of Centro Habana in the middle of the busy Belascoaín street after several days without electricity; pot-banging in the middle of a blackout in the municipality of 10 de Octubre; and a protest by residents at the batey of the Guatemala sugar mill, in the Holguin municipality of Mayarí, after  not having running water service for months.

Cubans not plugged into the power elite continued to demonstrate during the month against moderate to severe food insecurity and inadequate health care ─ including medical malpractice, lack of medical specialists, and insufficient production/procurement of medicines, basic supplies, and equipment. Dozens of protests were motivated by the deficient services of electricity, internet, transportation, sanitation, currency exchange, funeral and legal paperwork.

Water supply was a particularly denounced public service in July as the chronic national deficit became critical in areas of Havana such as Alamar, Habana Vieja and Boyeros ─with more than 200,000 people affected─ as well as in localities of Matanzas, Villa Clara, Las Tunas and Holguín provinces.

Another growing number of claims had to do with the rampant wave of social violence, crime, missing people, femicides and theft-motivated homicide cases.


– The 589 protests counted in July 2023 represent an increase of 124% compared to those registered in the same month last year (263).

– As it happened in June , the protest expressions compiled by the OCC in the seventh month of 2023 occurred in the 15 provinces of the island and the Isla de la Juventud special municipality.

– The most active territory was Havana with 216 protests, 44 more than in the previous month (172). It was followed by Holguín with 36, Guantánamo with 27 and Santiago de Cuba with 26.

– In July, protests based on Civil and Political Rights or CPR (327, 55.51%) exceeded by more than 11% those related to Economic and Social Rights (ESR) (262, 43.97%). In June, the ESR protests (229, 55.31%) had exceeded the CPR by almost 10% (188, 45.41%).

– The 262 protests related to ESR were led by the 105 generated by social conflicts, including growing citizen insecurity (74), and others such as the increase in homelessness and beggars (31). They were followed by the crises of public services (68), food insecurity (41), the dysfunctional public health system (40) and housing problems (10).

– Expressions of discontent over the recent wave of social violence, crime, missing people and murders (74) almost equaled in July the sum of those  related to the acute food and public health problems (81)

– Among the 327 protests linked to CPR, the highest number (146) had to do again with the repression against the more than a thousand political prisoners and their families, influencers, political opponents, independent journalists, human rights and civil society activists and ordinary citizens who expressed their dissatisfaction with the government or the system. However, for the first time in a month, in July 2023 the number of acts of defiance of the police State (134) came remarkably close to that of protests against repressive acts.

-Among the protests linked to CPR, 46 used graphic means of expression, including videos, photos or photo galleries, memes and graffiti.

– The protest figures hereby presented, as well as their sources and other data can be verified from now on in this protest log.


A-) Protests based on Economic and Social Rights


As in the previous month, social protests in Cuba were led in July by those linked to the wave of social violence and citizen insecurity, including scams, lethal-violence robberies, missing persons and murders (including seven more femicides).

With the verified femicide of Ruselay Castillo Matos at the Humberto Álvarez sugar mill town, in Cárdenas, Matanzas, the list so far this year rose to 54 cases.


Only in July, until the closing of this report, Cuban platforms observing gender violence had verified seven sexist crimes. Before Ruselay Castillo lost her life this month at the hands of her  partner/ex-partner, these woman sadly fell upon that same fate: Leidy Mariam Durruty García from San José de las Lajas, Rosmery Ponce Peña from Güines, both in the province of Mayabeque; Adela Verdecia from Jovellanos, Matanzas; Deyanira Fontanill Pérez from Trinidad, Sancti Spiritus; Rafaela Yusmila Ramírez Chacón from Baire, Granma; and Saray Molla from Chambas in Ciego de Ávila province.



While the issue of gender-based violence was addressed indirectly at a July meeting of Cuba’s National Assembly’s Constitutional and Legal Affairs Committee, nothing was mentioned about the alarming rise in social violence that was the subject of 74 protests in July.


According to a survey of 1,965 people by the independent Cubadata organization, 61% of Cubans have been victims of violence or crime, but the government says the protests over citizen insecurity are part of a campaign by the United States and the independent press to sabotage tourism. Some examples:


– Cuban teenager Fran García Rojas was attacked with machetes and finally stabbed to death in the Condado neighborhood in Santa Clara, Villa Clara


-In Guaro, Mayarí, Holguin peasant Moisés Ricardo Zayas was found dead in his property after being the victim of a cattle robbery.


-A birthdays photographer known as Orlando was killed inside his home at Narciso Lopez street, in the city of Guantanamo, to steal his safe.


-Roniel Torres Galves was arrested by the police in Pinar del Río after causing serious injuries to Alejandro Miguel García to steal the backpack in which he was carrying 35,000 pesos, product of the collection in the kiosk where he works.


-Rapper Dayán Torres -known as El Masai-  was murdered in Alamar, Habana del Este municipality, as he was assaulted by five individuals.


-In Santiago de Cuba, Delia Gorra Díaz reported on Facebook that she was the victim of a knife assault to steal her cell phone.


-Yoandris Vázquez was tied hands and feet and left on a street in the Caribe neighborhood, Holguin municipality of Moa, to steal his motorcycle. One of the robbers died during a police chase.


Youngster Frank Ernesto Viel Peña was stabbed to death during the early morning in the Playa municipality, in Havana, allegedly to rob him.


-A taxi driver and betting collector of the prohibited gambling game La Bolita died as a result of multiple stab wounds inflicted inside his home in the Calleja neighborhood, Havana municipality of Arroyo Naranjo, allegedly to rob him.


Another social conflict that motivated profuse protests and denunciations in July was that of the homeless and beggars. Some examples:

“I have gone to the government a thousand times and nobody wants to help me. I had an accident and my head has been operated on four times. I have three hernias. They don’t want to give me a checkbook. That’s why I ask for money on the street to buy food. I’m hungry,” Rafael Pérez, 47, who lives on handouts, told Cubanet.


-A video played by Martinoticias shows homeless people sleeping on the benches of Havana’s Central Park , near the Telegrafo and Inglaterra tourism hotels.


CubaNet contributor Angel Cuza captured on video an elderly man and  psychiatric patient, lying on a sidewalk in Havana, half-naked and abandoned to his fate. In the images the old man drinks water directly from a nearby puddle.


– In order to eat, María Lourdes Nodarse Frómeta and her ten-year-old nephew walk three kilometers every day to Holguín Boulevard, where they are more likely to receive alms.


The approval in July by Cuba’s National Assembly of a new Military Penal Code imposing up to five years’ imprisonment on young people who desert or attempt to evade military service highlighted another social conflict between the Government and families. Parents are increasingly opposed to the draft of their children to military units where frequent abuses and suicides occur, in addition to the possibility of they being sent as cannon fodder to fight for Russia in Ukraine.



In a CubaData Food Security Survey conducted between April and December 2022 70.8% of the more than 16,000 Cubans interviewed responded that they were eating less  than ever before, skipped meals and some days they barely ate a bite. Another 28% said they stayed hungry every day because they did not have enough food. In 71.2% of the households, someone complained of being hungryr at least once a month, and about the same number of households (71.1%) went without food at some point due to lack of money or because there was nowhere to buy it.


In an article citing the survey, OCC contributor Roberto Alvarez Quiñones points out that since December 2022 agricultural and livestock production has declined and there is less foreign exchange to import food. Add the rise in prices due to inflation that, in the food sector, reaches 66% year-on-year according to economist Pedro Monreal, and it will give you a measure of food insecurity going from bad to worse.


This was recognized by the unpredictable Castro leader Esteban Lazo at a meeting of the  National Assembly’s Agri-Food Commission: “100% of the (rationed) family basket today is being imported and then the country has no money to import enough food. Today we face this serious situation that the basket is not delivered, that it arrives split in half, things that are owed to the population belated for one or- wo months,” Lazo said. Vladimir Regueiro, Minister of Finance and Prices, acknowledged in the National Assembly  the lack of control of inflation: according to Regueiro, the price index grew 39% at the end of 2022, and 18% so far in 2023.


At the grass-roots level, protests and denunciations compiled in July confirmed the growing food insecurity, a red-hot problem that includes food shortages and price hikes; A few examples here:

-In Santa Clara, the price of a pound of rice reaches 250 pesos, while pork already reaches 500 pesos, independent journalist Guillermo del Sol told Martinoticias; From Havana, Vladimir Ríos Cruz reported that sweet potato costs 60 pesos per pound. Adriano Castañeda commented to the news outlet that “The shortage is huge: a pound of beans goes for 300 pesos, and an egg for 60 pesos” (In Cuba the minimum monthly wage is 2,100 pesos; the minimum pension, 1,528 pesos).


-“A sweet potato costs 70  CUP (Cuban pesos) on average and 25 CUP the smallest; a cucumber goes for 80 CUP. The price for an avocado ranges from 120 – 150 CUP… Who will put a stop to this? How much will these products cost next month?” cameraman Carlos Felipe Caula commented on Facebook. Internet users commented on Carlos’s post that a pound of taro cost 100 CUP and a loaf of bread in a private joint 900 CUP, a price unattainable for a retiree.


-A video uploaded to Twitter by independent journalist Monica Baró shows an elderly man from Santiago de Cuba who survives by eating “guineos” (green bananas). “I’ve eaten like five guineos today, you have to eat,” says the man.


-A Cuban who fought in Africa, suffers from epilepsy and is now destitute claims in a video that he eats leftovers that he picks up from the ground, because what he earns does not give him even for a coffee.


-The size of the rationed chicken allowance for children that was distributed in July in Güines, Mayabeque province, was compared in a photo with small earphones, which raised criticism on social networks. “What we are experiencing in Cuba is criminal (…) People on the street are fainting and there are underweight and anemic children. This is a total failure,” said one user.


-At a Las Tunas a province town beef bones were sold to consumers, according to a video posted on Twitter by a resident who showed the moment a truck unloaded peeled ribs at a state butcher shop. No meat, all it is for is substance (broth). Those ribs were totally scraped with a blade,” he is heard saying.


-“In Galerías Paseo it cost 43 MLC (Freely Convertible Currency) per kilo of fish… 8,600 Cuban pesos per kilogram of fish (more than four monthly minimum wages). An achievement of the revolution,” Yude Pupo denounced in the Facebook group El Vedado de Hoy.


-Cuba’s Deputy Minister of the Food Industry, Mydalis Naranjo Blanco, said in June that the seas surrounding Cuba do not hold enough fish to feed the Cuban population. Diario de Cuba found that only in 2022 Canada, according to that country’s official figures, imported products from the Cuban seas worth $ 9.44 mn. Meanwhile, China, bought $ 28.24 mn worth of marine animals from Cuba that year. In July, at the session of the National Assembly, Deputy Prime Minister Jorge Luis Tapia Fonseca found the solution: he recommended that Cubans build ponds to raise fish for consumption.


– In a context in which one kilo of powdered milk reaches and exceeds 2,000 Cuban pesos on the black market, many parents wonder how to get dairy for their children. In Holguín, powdered milk was lacking for children up to six years old amid a critical shortage throughout the province.


– Meanwhile, the crops that should reach a needy population continue to be lost “because they are not harvested, that is, due to negligence,” as State journalist Enrique Tirse wrote on his Facebook wall on July 21. Tirse cited an earlier complaint by a member of the National Assembly about the loss of 60% of mango production in Havana. Then he addressed a new case: that of a producer from Paso del Medio, in Ceiba Mocha, Matanzas, named Carlitos who had “a mountain of pumpkin about to be lost.” He wrote that Carlitos is not worried about the price, but about the loss after so much work. “If we keep acting this way we will never have anything,” Tirse concluded. The inefficient state collection mechanism Acopio  is in charge of harvesting the crops.



According to a Cubadata poll cited by Diario de Cuba, more than half of Cubans (55.8%) consider access to medicines as “impossible.” The proportion rises to 80.3% if you add those who find them with “great difficulty”. This conflict was reflected in the protests and denunciations of July 2023. A few examples:

-Sobeyda Galano, a desperate mother, made an urgent appeal through social networks to get the medicines needed by her epileptic son, who started having seizures and required an operation for tracheal stenosis after almost a month without treatment.


-For the second time around a father living in Guanabacoa, Havana, took to the streets shouting for phenobarbital for his sick daughter, according to information shared on social networks by Anyi Melek García.


The Cuban Institute of Freedom of Expression and Press (ICLEP) denounced in its networks the persistent shortage of medicines for hypertension in Villa Clara; the distributions Captopril was not sufficient for all patients. A blister of ten pills costs 300 pesos in the informal market.


– For the third time around Lianis Romero is looking for colostomy bags for her four-year-old son. Those sold at the pharmacy are not enough and the child has contracted urinary tract infection three times. Without the specific bags, patients have to wear diapers or makeshift bags, which can lead to infections, irritations and other complications.


Along with the shortages of medicines in the pharmacy network, the appalling situation of Cuban hospitals puts added pressure on the public health sector. In addition to the lack of medicines, supplies and equipment, protests are increasing due to poor care and malpractice:

-Judith Peña Pupo denounced on Facebook the poor care received by her daughter, with symptoms of dengue and a strong earache, at Holguín’s pediatric clinic “Octavio de la Concepción y de la Pedraja”. The girl had even fainted, but doctors refused to do a platelet count, and an otolaryngologist refused to examine her ear.


-A mother of two children suffering from six abdominal hernias and severe pain lacks specialized medical attentionin the Holguin municipality of Cacocum. Dozens of Holguineros donated money in social media to make her life more bearable. They are now demanding that the health authorities of the province order a surgery on the hernias that seriously affect her quality of life.


– In a Facebook livestream, complaining for strong pain, Iyaomi Perdomo denounced from the Calixto García hospital in Havana the poor attention of the medical staff, and the delay of more than a week on the gallstone surgery she needs. “They’re going to kill me. They don’t take care of me, they don’t solve my problem, they have to operate on me and they are choosing not to,” Perdomo said.


Meanwhile, the criminal State policy of secrecy on contagious diseases goes on:

Gilaris Quintana, a resident of Poey, Arroyo Naranjo, and a student at the “Julio Trigo López” Faculty of Medical Sciences in Havana, revealed in the Facebook group “CUBAN MOTHERS IN CUBA AND AROUND THE WORLD” that her six-month-old baby died of cardiac arrest on July 19, the fifth victim of a new unknown virus that affects children under one year old and kills them in less than 24 hours. Quintana had promised hospital authorities that she would not make her son’s case public.


On the other hand, hospitals are affected by a growing shortage of trained personnel, which is due either to desertions, emigration or the export of doctors under forced-labor conditions:

-A doctor told 14ymedio digital newspaper that 12 young pediatric residents quit from Havana pediatric hospital William Soler just a few weeks after starting work. In another Havana hospital, the intensive care service was closed due to lack of personnel. According to the source, the specialists have gone from being on call every three days to spending between 48 and 72 hours without leaving the hospital because there is no one take over from them (Havana has sent more than 600 specialist doctors to Mexico alone).


Patients are increasingly heading to hospitals due to the reduction of family doctor and nurse offices. Talking about this pillar of Cuba’s once praised system of Primary Health Care, it was revealed at the National Assembly session in July that only 11,548 remain in service, a reduction of 68.3% compared to the 36,478 that existed in 2010.


Meanwhile, the epidemiological situation has become more complicated in the east of the country:

-The independent journalist José Luis Tan Estrada reports from Camagüey that “the hospitals are full of (dengue)cases ,there is no room for another patient.”


-Residents of Guantánamo alerted Martínoticias about the government’s mismanagement of the deterioratied epidemiological situation in their territory; this is in the face of an increase in dengue cases, which has placed the province in an alarm phase, as well as a rebound of Covid-19.



Cubans without private businesses, sufficient remittances or connections to the power elite continued to protest in July over poor public services, particularly a critical situation with the water supply throughout the island, and the return of long nighttime blackouts during one of the hottest summers in living memory. Examples:

-Some 10,000 residents of Mataguá, a town at Villa Clara’s Manicaragua municipality, accused the Central Committee of the Communist Party and the Council of State of ignoring their complaints about the shortage of tap water, which has been worsened by an increase in the price of hiring a tanker truck driver on the black market.


-More than 200,000 people were without water in early July in Havana, of whom 48,239 suffer near-permanent service interruptions. In the buildings of East Havana’s Pan-American Village, those who live on high floors have not received water through the pipeline for more than three months and must carry it up from pipas (tanker trucks) in the streets. Other affected municipalities have been Cerro, Plaza de la Revolución, 10 de Octubre, Centro Habana and Habana Vieja


-“How long are we supposed to wait? We don’t even have water to make a boiled egg,” protested residents of the Miraflores Viejos neighborhood, Boyeros municipality, during a visit by the first secretary of the Communist Party in Havana, Luis Antonio Torres Iríbar.


“Help, we don’t have water,” a family from Batey Agüica in Colón, Matanzas, pleaded with a cardboard  sign hanging on the balcony of their apartment. Cuban influencer Edmundo Dantes Jr., who posted the image on Facebook, said that shortly after, two water pipas (tanker trucks) showed up to supply the building.


“Last night the pressure cooker started hissing at Alamar’s zone 12,” activist Diasniurka Salcedo Verdecia wrote on Facebook, who shared a video about a protest by neighbors in the streets of that neighborhood of East Havana, after two weeks without tap water in their homes. “There has been no water for 15 days; I am an old woman; I am diabetic; there is no water for cooking, or bathing, or anything. So people started protesting,” a neighbor named Luisa confirmed to Martí Noticias. By 11 o’clock at night the water had come.


-A Cuban mother from Old Havana sat in the middle of the street with her two youngest daughters and empty containers to protest against the shortage of tap water and the continuous power cuts in that municipality. A Cubanet video shows the woman and her daughters sitting at the intersection of Villegas and Obrapía streets. “This was Revolution yesterday, today this is every man for himself,” the mother is heard saying.



Although this year the government cared to save enough fuel to supplyr Cuba’sthermoelectric plants during the peak summer season, the ruinous state of the electroenergetic system has dampened its optimistic forecasts:

-At the beginning of July, the Electric Union had to announce nightly blackouts after weeks without cuts, due to the breakdowns of several plants, in the middle of one of the hottest summers in memory. “There are some who continue to believe, while most of us are so disappointed that, honestly, we don´t expect anything good anymore,” Dayron Espinosa Benítez commented at the bottom of the announcement. “The (endless) story of La Buena Pipa,” said Eduardo Castro Zamora.


-An evening blackout was reported at the Victoria de Girón stadium in Matanzas during a semifinal match of the Baseball National Series between the Leñadores de Las Tunas and the Cocodrilos de Matanzas.


A bold street protest reported in July in Havana was over power outages:

-A dozen people managed to disrupt traffic by sitting at the intersection of Belascoaín and San Lázaro, two busy streets in Centro Habana, a video released by rapper Eliexer Márquez El Funky showed. “It’s been 10 days (without electricity) and nothing, nobody solves the problem. The food is spoiling and the children hardly sleep at night. The refrigerators cannot be put on,” said a resident quoted by 14ymedio.


Blackouts as triggers for mass protests have been a constant concern for the regime, especially since they began sparking almost daily evening marches during the summer of 2022:  by neighbors shouting “Freedom” and other slogans:

-“To avoid ‘anything’, the place is full of black berets (special forces) and even generals, they tell me,” said influencer Edmundo Dantés Jr. in a post about the increased police presence in Central Havana after the Belascoaín and San Lázaro protests.



The political manipulation of the Internet service by the Government became evident on the second anniversary of 11J:

-Hundreds of residents in Cuba reported mobile data internet connection failures on the second anniversary of the July 11 protests that rocked the country in 2021. Reports from Internet users and independent media indicate that many did not have access to calls on social media applications such as WhatsApp and Facebook Mesenger, the signal was intermittent and in some places there was no access to the internet at all. Although no widespread outage was reported, many users claimed to be without mobile data service.


Even on regular days “access to the web through mobile telephone services has become an ordeal for customers,” Yoani Sánchez wrote in 14ymedio. Connection speeds are as low as 51 kilobits per second, but state monopoly ETECSA continues to launch top-up deals with multi-gigabyte bonuses that are largely paid for by relatives abroad.


Other critical public services that prompted protests counted by the OCC in July were transportation, sanitation, natural gas, currency exchange, funeral and issuance of legal documents.









Several protests and denunciations compiled in July by the OCC confirmed the housing crisis in Cuba is seemingly insurmountable under the current system:

– Salvador Ortega, a 90-year-old man, lives isolated in a cave located in Alto del Indio, in the town of Las Bocas in the mountainous municipality of Tercer Frente. “His choice of life was not for pleasure, but because he had no other option,” user Petronilo del Rio denounced on Facebook.


More than 60,000 Cuban families live in houses with dirt floors, according to statistics from early 2023 provided by the Government.


-Inhabitants of a shelter located in Buenavista, Havana municipality of Playa, denounced the terrible hygienic-sanitary conditions in which they live, as well as the abandonment of their case by the authorities. In the shelter there are 18 families who have only one stove to cook.


-Diario de Cuba presented a video of a Havana dilapidated building, with cracked walls, collapsed ceilings and upper floors without guards that remains incredibly inhabited, as indicated by clothes lying in the sun.


-One worker died and another was injured by the partial collapse of a building that was going to be demolished in Luyanó, Diez de Octubre municipality. When a wall collapsed, the plaque where the two men were standing also collapsed.


-Part of a multi-family building located in Güirito, Holguin municipality of Gibara, collapsed when part of the rear balconies came off. State television blamed the collapse “on deterioration due to weather,” as well as a severe storm and recent heavy rains. There were no casualties.


-Millions of resources ─including international donations─ allocated to the recovery of the more than 90,000 homes affected in Pinar del Río by Hurricane Ian in September 2022 should have solved more than 50% of the damage. However, only 32% have been solved. Farmer Esteban Ajete told Martinoticias that in the municipality of Guane many homes still have blankets for roofs.


B-) Protests based on Civil and Political Rights



1-) Repression of political prisoners and their families

Two years after the anti-government protests of July 11 and 12, 2021, there were 1,047 political prisoners in Cuban prisons, according to a report published in July by the organization Prisoners Defenders. Since January 2023, an average of 19 political prisoners enter the entity’s list each month, four times as many as before the events of 11J.

Protests related to the repression continue to lead by their number month after month all the categories covered by this report. As for political prisoners and their families, the regime’s intention, according to the complaints received, is to make the lives of the political prisoners and those of their loved ones as bitter and unstable as possible; examples include:

– Five demonstrators imprisoned on 11J in Cardenas, were transferred from the Agüica prison in Matanzas to other penitentiaries in the province for no apparent reason. Marbelis Vázquez Hernández, wife of Daniel Yoel Cárdenas, one of those transferred, said her husband developed anemia as a result of his diet in Agüica that was reduced to a soup made with banana peels.


– Albert Fonse, an activist living in Canada, denounced that in the prison of Quivicán, Mayabeque province ─where his brother Roberto Pérez Fonseca is being held since July 11, 2021─ the guards are colluded with common prisoners to beat the political prisoners if they attempt to protest in prison. In June, Pérez Fonseca and fellow prisoners of conscience Abel Lázaro Machado Conde, Yasiel Martínez Carrasco and Alien Molina wore white T-shirts painted with anti-Castro slogans and called for medical and religious assistance, freedom for political prisoners, and an end to prison famine.


– At the maximum rigor prison El Pitirre (also known as 15-80) activist, opponent and 11J protester Walfrido Rodríguez Piloto is incomunicado in a punishment cell. Rodríguez Piloto wears  underwear only in the punishment cell because he refuses to wear the uniform of a common prisoner and the 2nd in command of the prison, Lieutenant Colonel Osmany Ramírez Díaz, confiscated all the white clothes he had.


– Maykel “Osorbo” Castillo, co-author of the acclaimed song Patria y Vida and political prisoner, was denied conjugal and family visits again at the 5 y Medio prison of Pinar del Río. Prison officials canceled his visits warning him that these measures are only the beginning. Castillo was moved to a punishment cell after promising to sew his mouth shut in protest and leaking out of the prison a photo of himself making a gesture of contempt for his jailers.


-Political prisoner Maykel Puig Bergolla was intentionally left in the courtyard of the Quivicán prison to have him attacked by common prisoners, his wife Sayli Núñez Pérez denounced on Facebook.


-On July 13, 11J political prisoner Duannis León Taboada was taken for an interrogation at the Combinado del Este prison. He was shown confusing papers accusing his mother Jenni and her sisters of some common crime and insinuating that his mother could wake up dead. “I’m under threat of death or going to jail by the State,” Jenni later denounced in a Facebook post. “My son has just begged me to leave Cuba because he fears for my life.”


-Cuban judicial authorities denied conditional release to Yusmely Moreno González and her husband Danger Acosta Jústiz, despite having served two-thirds of their three-year prison sentence and having no criminal record. The parents of four minor children were convicted for their participation in the popular protest of July 11, 2021 in Surgidero de Batabanó, Mayabeque province.


At the La Caoba correctional center in Palma Soriano, Santiago de Cuba, evangelical pastor Lorenzo Rosales Fajardo, and two other political prisoners were threatened with revoking their sentence of lesser rigor and returning them to a maximum security prison if they did not appear in the acts of “reeducation”, in which slogans in favor of the regime must be chanted.


-Lady in White Annia Zamora and the member of the opposition and former political prisoner Armando Abascal, parents of political prisoner Sissi Abascal Zamora, were arrested before arriving at the church where they planned to attend mass. They were held for several hours in Carlos Rojas, Matanzas. “We are always threatened that we can go to prison and that anything can happen to Sissi,” Zamora said.


– Dilayda Echevarría, sister of Lady in White and political prisoner Tania Echevarría, told Martinoticias that Tania was very thin the last time she visited her at La Bellotex, Matanzas women’s prison. Tania is suffering from diabetes and hypertension, two diseases she did not have before being sent to prison for her participation in the July 11, 2021 protest in Colón. Tania told Dilayda that the prison food is terrible, that they are eating only rice and whatever root vegetable they provide, and they are also carrying water to the upper floors so they can bathe.


-As a result of the release of audios about her situation recorded by her at the Kilo 5 Women’s Prison in Camagüey, political prisoner Lenelis Delgado Cue was deprived of her right to phone calls, “which is the only way she had to talk to her children,” denounced Leticia Cue, mother of the prisoner of conscience also known ─on social media─ as “Mambisa Agramontina.”


2-) Repression against civil society in the streets

Preventing some citizens from leaving Cuba and forcing others into exile; trumping up charges to take opposition members off the streets; scrutinizing their networks; repressing their relatives; discrediting them in the media, and threatening or prosecuting those who speak out about the situation of the country on their social media are some forms of repression deployed by the regime as it tries to slow down the growing deterioration of their unanimity façade. Examples of this forms of repression are:

-Political prisoner Yoandi Montiel Hernández, known as El Gato de Cuba, said in a Facebook post: “I went to get my passport, because on the side here these guys [State Security] are suffocating me, they are telling me to get my passport and just leave, but when I go do it, the agent there tells me that I cannot get my passport because I am ‘regulated’”. In April 2021, the influencer was accused of contempt and sentenced to two years that he served entirely due to critical videos he published on the internet, many peppered with humor, satire and mockery.


-A group of 20 mothers who had agreed on social media to march on July 17 to the memorial of José Martí at Plaza of the Revolution and demand that whole powdered milk be distributed for their children, was dismantled two days before by State Security officers who visited them and intimidated them one by one. The administrator of the chat was summoned to the police station of her municipality and told that by opening a group of demonstrators she was committing a criminal offense and could be prosecuted.


-Cuban police arrested the husband of Amelia Calzadilla after the young mother of three children ─who has become known for her brave Facebook livestreams on the Cubans’ daily life─ asked on the social network for the release of political prisoners.


-The Prosecutor’s Office of Banes, province of Holguín, requested four years of “forced labor in an internment camp” for Leandro Pupo Garcés after he uploaded on Facebook a post critical of courses for young people taught by the Ministry of the Interior (Minint). According to the Prosecutor’s Office, criticizing Minint already affects “the morale and prestige of this institution.”


-Cuban activist Frederict Otero Angueira, a member of the Opposition Movement for a New Republic (MONR), was arrested in Havana on the second anniversary of 11J on charges of “propaganda against the constitutional order,” a crime against State Security. That day Otero had sent through Facebook a message “for all those snitches and all those people of the State Security, that the opposition, and the Cubans, are not going to do anything on a day like today, but their time is coming.”


-Humberto López, a spokesman for State Security on Cuban Television,  revealed in a section of the National Newscast a private telephone conversation between independent journalist Camila Acosta and América Tevé reporter Nelson Rubio. Lopez presented the recording as part of a political and media conspiracy “against Cuba.” Acosta said that the regime’s discrediting campaign against her has been going on for years, and that they have tried to fabricate a “judicial process” that would allow them to take her to prison.


– Alian Armando López, a Sancti Spiritus-based pastor and member of the Apostolic Movement, a group of churches independent of the pro-government Council of Churches of Cuba, was summoned by the National Revolutionary Police. Another Cuban pastor, Manuel Segura, a resident of Mexico, was prevented from leaving Cuba. Pastor Segura, who visited the island to see his family, had been extensively interrogated upon arrival in the country.



A police operation deployed on Sunday, July 16 in several provinces of the country ended with the arrest of 17 Ladies in White who were on their way to attend mass, of them, three in Havana, one in Santa Clara, two in Banes, Holguín, and 11 in Matanzas. Nine members of the movement made it to their churches. At the moment, four Ladies in White are in prison serving long sentences for their participation in the popular protests of 11J


3-) Challenges to repression

As in previous months, a trend of Cuban citizens openly expressing their discontent with the regime continued to emerge in July, either around specific issues such as food insecurity and faulty public health or towards the Government and the system in general. This continues to occur in defiance of tougher laws criminalizing dissent and the full exercise of freedom of opinion and expression. Examples:

-Osiris José Puerto Terry said he was shot three times by two Black Berets on July 11, 2021, during protests near the Esquina de Toyo, in Havana. Puerto Terry told Diario de Cuba that he heard a colonel from that Special Brigade order: “Fire on everyone!” He was then shot in the foot, and then shot twice in the back. His life was saved thanks to surgery at the Calixto García hospital, but it was not recorded that he was admitted for three gunshot wounds.


-Several political prisoners went on hunger strikes around the second anniversary of 11J. Among them: Rolando Yusef Pérez Morera, Adrián Rodríguez Morera and Denis Hernández Ramírez who were all demonstrators in San Antonio de los Baños, the town where the popular uprising began; Noige Fernández Tabío, who protested at Havana’s Esquina de Toyo; and artist and leader of the San Isidro Movement Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara.




-Juan Enrique Pérez Sánchez, 11J demonstrator in Nueva Paz, province of Mayabeque, was badly beaten at the Quivicán prison, after he went for breakfast dressed in white and holding a sign similar to the one he raised in his 11J protest, which said on one side “Down with the dictatorship” and on the other, “We were so hungry that we ate away the fear.”


-Opposition member Frederict Otero Angueira published on July 11 a video on social networks to demand the freedom of political prisoners on the second anniversary of 11J. The member of the Opposition Movement for a New Republic (MONR) said in his message that “the opposition, and Cubans, on a day like today are not going to do anything, but their time is coming.”.


-In comments left at the bottom of a report by the official Cubadebate website about a parliamentary debate on prices, several Cubans expressed their outrage. “It is no longer possible to continue justifying the bad done with the blockade while some become millionaires at the expense of the sweat of those who work,” wrote pjodalr; “Unstoppable dollar and galloping inflation,” summarized Gilberto Reyes. “Pork at almost 500 pesos a pound; a pound of rice at 200 pesos; a liter of oil costs almost 700-800 pesos; what price control are we talking about?” said the reader identified as R.


-A group of 20 mothers agreed on social media to march on July 17 from the National Library to the memorial to José Martí at the Plaza of the Revolution, and demand that whole powdered milk be distributed for their children. The plan was dismantled on the 15th by State Security officers who visited and intimidated them one by one.


– Despite the ban ordered by officials on recording the discussions, film director Miguel Coyula made public video and audio fragments he recorded during the tense meeting held on June 23 between more than a hundred filmmakers grouped in the Assembly of Cuban Filmmakers and authorities of the Ministry of Culture and the Communist Party. Among the officials present at the meeting  was Rogelio Polanco, Ideological Secretary of the PCC.


-“We know they lie to us, they know they lie to us, we know that they know they lie to us and yet, they continue to lie,” comedian Rigoberto Ferrera reiterated about the Cuban regime, as he replayed on his social media a video he had uploaded a year ago.  “This reel was made almost a year ago and it’s still good, unfortunately,” the actor said of his video.


-More than 300 political opponents, activists and relatives asked in a letter to President Miguel Díaz-Canel for “Freedom without exile” for Cuban political prisoners and insisted that “economic, civil and political freedoms” are not recognized in the country, while “legal regulations are created that legalize the violation and repression of citizens’ rights and duties.”


-Alberto Reyes, a priest of the Archdiocese of Camagüey, told the Catholic news agency ACI Prensa that in Cuba “the priests, religious men and women who have raised their voices have been harassed, we have been publicly repudiated, and we have been summoned by State Security.” The cleric pointed out that in Cuba there is freedom of worship but not full religious freedom, since the control of the State and the Communist Party over religion limits, restricts and regulates to the extreme many church actions.


-A Cuban mother from Old Havana sat in the middle of the street with her two youngest daughters and empty containers to protest against the shortage of tap water and the continuous power cuts in that municipality. A Cubanet video shows the woman and her daughters sitting at the intersection of Villegas and Obrapía streets. “In a yesterday this was Revolution, today this is every man for himself,” the mother is heard saying.


-Professional Marcos Antonio García Santana denounced on Facebook the disproportionate impact of electricity rates, which have reached exorbitant sums and affect the Cubans quality of life. García Santana recounted how he was surprised by a bill of 4,125.00 Cuban pesos for electricity consumption, which, he said, is equivalent to the average salary of a professional in a month of work. The netizen wondered how his parents, whose combined retirement checkbooks don’t add up to 4,000 pesos, would pay for that.


-Writer and humorist Jorge Fernández Era announced on social media a peaceful protest in front of the monument to José Martí at Havana’s Central Park, to demand the release of political prisoners, that a Constituent Assembly be convened to make feasible the exercise of rights that are now restricted, attention to the elderly,  and an end to harassment and repression against dissenters.


-A dozen people managed to disrupt traffic by sitting at the intersection of Belascoaín and San Lázaro,  two busy streets in Centro Habana, a video released by rapper Eliexer Márquez El Funky showed. “It’s been 10 days (without electricity) and nothing, and nobody solves the problem. Food is spoiling; children hardly sleep at night; refrigerators cannot be plugged in,” said a resident quoted by 14ymedio.


-Residents of the Havana municipality of 10 de Octubre protested with pot-banging a blackout on the night of July 16.


-“Help, we don’t have water,” begged a family from batey Agüica in Colón, Matanzas, with a cardboard sign hanging on the balcony of their apartment. Cuban influencer Edmundo Dantes Jr., who posted the image on Facebook, said that shortly after, two water pipes (tanker trucks) appeared to supply the building.


-A photo gallery titled Kievbana compares Havana, a city in ruins in peacetime, with Kiev, capital of war-torn Ukraine.


-Self-employed, housemakers  and unemployed youth openly expressed their opinions on the national crisis to reporters from the persecuted independent press.



-After Cuban officials said that there are not enough fish for Cubans to consume in Cuba’s surrounding seas and that anyone who wants to eat fish should grow them in ponds, comedian Ulises Toirac wondered on Facebook what differences there can be between a nearby city like Campeche on the Yucatan Peninsula and another in the Cuban archipelago so that fishermen can catch an abundance of fish in Mexico and in Cuba they cannot.


In Cuba “today what is most lacking is hope,” writer Leonardo Padura, a chronicler of Cuban social reality through his novels, said in an interview with EFE. “It’s like another ridge of a long crisis … We have touched bottom and the worst thing is that, if at other times there was still any hope that things were going to improve, I believe that what is most lacking today is not food, fuel, electricity or coffee, what is most lacking is hope,” said the author, a resident of Mantilla, a Havana suburb. {

About the protests on July 11, 2021, the award-winning writer said: “It was an explosion, a scream from Cuban society, and the only thing that happened was that the controls and mechanisms of repression sharpened, intensified (…) It has also helped people to understand that if they go out on the street and break a glass, they can go to jail for five, seven, ten years.”



1-) State-controlled economy and massive impoverishment.─ On his Facebook page El Estado Como Tal Cuba-based economist Pedro Monreal believes that “There is no way out of Cuba’s economic and social crisis, nor indications that there is a coherent program of an economic policy to solve it.

“The ‘Ordering Task’ (unification of the dual currency) has aggravated the crisis and is ‘a bull’ that officially has not yet been ‘grabbed by the horns’ in two of its most important negative effects: a macroeconomic adjustment supported by the compression of wages and the massive impoverishment of Cubans,” Monreal warned.

“The issue of poverty has changed because its nature is different since the failure of the ‘ordering’: it is massive because average salaries and pensions are lower than the value of the basket of goods and services, and that requires an economic policy approach different from the traditional one,” the expert wrote. He then warned that “continuing with the lamentations does not solve the food crisis,  Nor could the solution come out of bureaucratic dreams such as the ’63 measures’. The solution lies in developing a modern private agriculture in Cuba, but that does not seem to be in the plans,” he said.


2-) Small and medium-sized private enterprises: Will they alleviate the ordinary Cubans plight?.-The consensus between Washington and Havana so that new Cuban small and medium-sized enterprises can import inputs and products, in many cases through remittance agencies, creates an image of abundance around these private businesses, a part of which are managed by those “plugged in” to the power elite. Among other items sent in containers they sell clothing, food, beers and imported beverages. But for the average Cuban, with a monthly minimum wage of 2,100 pesos, those items are just a mirage: according to a Telemundo report, a bottle of Coke costs 190 pesos, a bottle of rum is 500 pesos, and the price of a women’s skirt is 1,900 pesos.


3-) Europe ups the ante to the regime.- A Council of Europe resolution was passed at the end of June that described the Cuban regime as “Russia’s most relevant transatlantic ally in its aggression against Ukraine” and called on the parliaments of member countries to withdraw from the pending ratification of the Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement with Havana; this was jfollowed in July by a European Parliament resolution which condemned “systematic violations and abuses” against human rights in Cuba and called on the European Union to sanction those responsible, “starting with President Miguel Díaz-Canel, as the preeminent figure in the chain of command of the Cuban security forces, along with other senior government officials.”


4-) Fito Páez: The Cuban regime does not represent the people.- The Cuban dictatorship continues to lose friends, even among liberal artists who have been one of its traditional sources of support. Regarding the showing on the island’s TV of a censored version of the film “La Habana de Fito”, by Cuban Juan Pin Vilar, the famous Argentine singer-songwriter told the independent publication El Toque: ”  I am a friend of the Cuban people, I am not a friend of them (the Government). They do not represent the Cuban people. I am a friend of the Cuban people. And I’m going to be there until the last consequences with whatever needs to be done.


5-) Would-be protesters.- A new study by the independent statistical project Cubadata carried out between May 16 and 31 of this year shows  that 29.1% of Cubans surveyed would join a protest on the island right away, while 43.5% “maybe” would; from which it is inferred that a majority (72.6%) considers their participation. In the opinion of 43.9% of Cubans surveyed, the protests “can change many things.”


In a message dictated in July from Pinar del Río’s 5 y medio prison where, for sending a selfie of himself to the outside world he suffered retaliation and waited to be sent to a punishment cell, rapper Maykel “El Osorbo” Castillo, co-author of the theme song “Patria y Vida”, said the following:


“Once I’m in that cell, we’re going to beat each other with sticks; if we are diplomats, we are diplomats; if you lack me, I will spare you; if you raise your hand against me while I’m handcuffed, I will spit on you; If you reason, I will reason. You have the strength and the power, I have God and my Faith, thanks to Him I am stronger than you. (…) Remember, a tree always dies standing. Patria y Vida siempre. ”

Cuban Conflict Observatory, Miami, July 31st, 2023