THE THINK TANK

Think Tank shares voices of Cuba during demonstration

Jul 30, 2021, 11:00 AM
People attend a cultural-political event on the seaside Malecon Avenue with thousands of people in ...

People attend a cultural-political event on the seaside Malecon Avenue with thousands of people in a show of support for the Cuban revolution six days after the uprising of anti-government protesters across the island, in Havana, Cuba, Saturday, July 17, 2021. (AP Photo/ Ismael Francisco)

(AP Photo/ Ismael Francisco)

There have been mass demonstrations in Cuba on a scale not seen in the last 30 years.

The government responded by restricting use of the internet and closing down social media to make it difficult for citizens to organize.

The censorship was not perfect, however, and the Think Tank has exclusively obtained recordings which circumvented government censorship. These will be played in this week’s show.

What brought about these demonstrations? Clearly the country is suffering. There are food shortages and long lines for food and other essential goods. These shortages were brought about by a perfect storm of three things:

1. Government control had stifled the economy (though this is nothing new; in fact, there have been some liberalizations in the economy over the last few years).

2. The U.S. embargo also hurt, but did not devastate, the economy. The U.S. is both large and close to Cuba; we are a logical trading partner. But Cuba was doing a decent tourism business with the rest of the world, and it was a major source of hard currency. Again, the embargo is almost 60 years old, so is nothing new in that.

3. The final blow was COVID. COVID completely eliminated a thriving tourism industry. When this punch was added to the above two factors it struck a devastating blow.

I have traveled extensively in Cuba. Most of this week’s show will exclusively present recordings I have obtained since these demonstrations have started.

They are gut-wrenching and real. And I can personally attest that the source is neither an activist nor a government shill. She openly discusses not only the hardships in current day Cuba, but also the range of opinions in that country, including in her own family.

The Think Tank airs on KTAR 92.3 FM on Saturday 6-7 p.m. and Sunday 9-10 p.m.

Podcasts are available after broadcast.

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