Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Havana demonstration broken up

Cuba’s Damas de Blanco, demonstrating yesterday morning for the release of their jailed relatives near the Plaza de la Revolucion, were forcibly removed from their sit-in site, packed onto a bus, and driven home.

Reuters account here. A Christian Science Monitor reporter, in Havana, describes the Damas’ movement.

And a BBC report from Havana (in Spanish) puts the action in the context of overall opposition activity. The Damas, correspondent Fernando Ravsberg writes, are “the only dissident group that undertakes street activities. The bulk of the opposition has limited itself to working indoors, with press conferences, meetings, and statements.” Ravsberg describes divisions within the movement regarding political issues and tactics in the face of a government that “practically every week announces changes, the large majority of which are well received by the public.” The movement, he writes, is “small, divided, and with very little social influence.”

I’m sure that many will read that as criticism, but Ravsberg is leading to an interesting question. If changes in Cuba continue, and especially if additional changes materially affect all Cubans, not only those with hard currency to spend, will that change the political context in which the opposition operates? Will it change tactics? Should it?

[Reuters photo]


CUBA ED said...

If the PCC markedly improves the situation with food, transportation, and housing, the dissidents will find even less echo than today, especially if there is more latitude on cultural expression. The problem for the PCC us how to achieve all these improvements while trying to stick to communist ideology.

Anonymous said...

Again it must be said: It is of the utmost importance that photographs of the individuals taking part in these government goon squads be disseminated and seen by as many people as possible. These folks must not be permitted to act with impunity. They need to be embarrassed and maligned into submission. No violence but, people MUST know their faces -


Anonymous said...

Amazing that people don't see the irony in calling for pro-Government citizens to be "embarrassed and maligned into submission" when this seems to be Havana's policy regarding street protesters.

Anonymous said...

One can only hope that the arrests of the Damas de Blanco can serve to illustrate to the global community the depths thatthe PCC is capable of. Arresting peaceful protesters is very oppressve and one can only hope that the visibility that the PCC is gving them (be it negative and slandering) serves as a rallying cry to other cubns as well as to international human rights groups.... one can only hope that occurs....