In Guantánamo, Cuba, an important eastern city near the eponymous Naval Base, the streets recently reverberated with shouts of “Down with Fidel! Down with Raúl!” and “The streets belong to the people!” as dozens marched in open defiance of the iron-fisted rule of the Castro brothers. Even the physical attacks hurled by the regime’s paid thugs did not prevent the march from continuing.

Over the past few months similar protests have taken place across cities and towns throughout the island. What do they portend?

To most people, popular uprisings against dictatorships appear spontaneous because they capture our attention at their moment of fruition, when massive crowds in public plazas attract television cameras. In truth, uprisings are the result of many years of individuals struggling to overcome personal fear, and of tenacious organizational work by small groups.

Resistance networks that grow through repressed societies act like arteries that arouse a subjugated people, a key event or moment serving as the critical spark, the catalyst for the awakening. The death last year of prisoner of conscience Orlando Zapata Tamayo, an Afro-Cuban bricklayer, perpetrated by the authorities’ denial of water for 18 days in an attempt to force him to stop a hunger strike, set off a wave of street protests and hunger strikes. International condemnation forced the dictatorship to release hundreds of political prisoners. Many of those released were pressured into exile, but a hard core of political prisoners chose to remain on the island, their leadership qualities thereby growing exponentially in the eyes of the population.

The Castro dictatorship is once more trying to stem the growth of such resistance in Cuba through persecution and brutality because popular demonstrations, unprecedented in number and message, have erupted throughout the island, among them:

• On March 24, citizens in the central city of Santa Clara blocked traffic to protest the arbitrary arrests of peaceful activists.

• On March 28, resistance members demonstrated at Havana’s historic capitol building for the release of all political prisoners, an action timed to coincide with a visit by former President Jimmy Carter.

• Demonstrations again took place in Central Cuba during the run-up to the Communist Party Congress in April, despite heightened surveillance.

• May saw a 13 day-long “Boitel and Zapata Live!” memorial, a series of nonviolent actions commemorating martyrs in the anti-communist resistance struggle. It started with nationwide pots and pans protests and continued with marches and meetings.

The resistance also responded to the murder of activist Juan Wilfredo Soto García by joining the Guantánamo march and demonstrating in the central city of Placetas, where in a separate action, women activists carried out a sit-in in the lobby of the government-controlled radio station demanding to state their perspective on the murder of Soto García.

Scores of people turned Soto García’s funeral in the streets of the central province capital of Santa Clara into a demonstration calling for the end of the Castro regime and freedom for all Cubans.

The protesters are young, many of them black, most of them poor and from the provinces. Coalesced in the Cuban National Civic Resistance Front, the island’s new resistance movement rises from a marginalized population that derives strength from the social bonds of family and friendship harnessed under the duress of decades of economic exploitation, criminal persecution, political imprisonment and ideological discrimination by its own government. These brave Cubans have nothing to lose — not freedom nor material goods, for there is neither on the island. They fight for liberty and for restored natural rights.

The struggle of Cuba’s democratic resistance is lonely and hard. Not only do they face a vicious regime’s police brutality, but an indifferent world and a Catholic hierarchy too close to the regime (as information revealed on Wikileaks corroborated). Leftist international leaders — typified by Spain’s Prime Minster José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero and Brazil’s former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva — who put ideological predilection and commercial interests above human rights, and shamelessly coddle Castro’s decrepit tyranny, prolong the repression.

But the Cubans will regain their freedom. And when Cuba’s plazas are filled with crowds clamoring for, or celebrating, the removal of the dictatorship, no one should be surprised and say they were not warned as to when the awakening began.

Recent Articles

Date Title
8/31/11 Cuba Dissidents Ask Church to Stop Harassment by State
8/31/11 Grammy-winning Cuban singer Pablo Milanes, in letter, blasts attacks on dissidents in Cuba
Associated Press
8/31/11 Web rumor on Fidel Castro’s death catches on
By Alfonso Chardy, The Miami Herald
8/30/11 Dissidents say police used tear gas in a raid, beat women
By Juan Tamayo, The Miami Herald
8/30/11 Cuban civil society fights to be heard
By Paolo Paranagua, The Guardian
8/30/11 A&K scraps Cuba tours after reviewing new U.S. regulations
By Gay Myers, Travel Weekly
8/29/11 Cuban singer Milanes’ first Miami concert marked with emotion
By Jordan Levin, The Miami Herald
8/29/11 From Dictactorship to Democracy: The Transition in Cuba Has Already Started
Yoani Sanchez, Huffington Post
8/29/11 Cubans may finally get to buy new cars
By Chris Woodyard, USA Today
8/29/11 Puerto Rico-Cuba Flights Resume After Decades
Associated Press
8/29/11 Updating Cuba's Economic Model
Omar Everleny Perez Villanueva, From the Island
8/26/11 NY Bank to pay $88 million for Cuba transfers
By Juan Tamayo, The Miami Herald
8/26/11 The secret life of Cuba's creative class: photographer Michael Dweck's allegorical narrative of seduction
The Art Daily
8/26/11 Cuba condemns U.S. court ruling on exile's compensation claim
Xinhua English
8/26/11 Cuba's Dual Currency System Provides a Way to Cheat Shoppers
Yoani Sanchez, Huffington Post
8/25/11 Get Cuba off the List of State Sponsors of Terror
Sarah Stephens, Huffington Post
8/25/11 Venezuela’s Chavez says he may undergo more chemotherapy, calls treatment ‘preventive’
Associated Press
8/24/11 Florida Court Awards $2.8 Bln to Anti-Castro Agent
8/24/11 Post-Gaddafi, is Cuba next?
By David Roberts, Business News America
8/24/11 Raul Castro Showing Impatience at Slow Reform Pace
8/24/11 We Now Know: The Real Enemies of the 1966 Cuban Adjustment Act.
Arturo Lopez-Levy, The Havana Note
8/24/11 Cuba Takes Over as Head of Disarmament Body
Associated Press
8/24/11 Blogger sends uncensored news to Cuban cell phones
By Juan Tamayo, The Miami Herald
8/23/11 Cuba Still On U.S. Terrorism List, but Ileana Ros-Lehtinen Wonders Where the Evidence Went
By Anya Landau French, The Havana Note
8/23/11 Controversy over Milanés concert is déjà vu with a few fresh twists
By Jordan Levin, The Miami Herald
8/22/11 Venezuela debuta esta noche en el Super 4 de Montevideo
8/22/11 Defections prompt calls for change in Cuban sports
By Anne-Marie Garcia, Associated Press
8/22/11 Cuba rejects continued inclusion on US terror list
Associated Press
8/22/11 Ladies in White attacked in Cuba, most violent since spring
By Juan Tamayo, The Miami Herald
8/22/11 The Stomachs of Strongmen
Ann Louise Bardach, The New York Times
8/19/11 Capturing Cuba's TV Culture
By Claire O'Neill, NPR
8/19/11 Debate in Cuba, Skeptics & Content
By Harolodo Alfonso, Havana Times
8/18/11 Pablo Milanes' Miami Concert Plan Drums Up Discord
8/17/11 Rivera seeks to restrict some Cubans from returning to Cuba
By Juan Tamayo, The Miami Herald
8/17/11 First Americans in Cuba under easier travel rules
By Jeff Franks, Reuters
8/16/11 Hemingway Bar: Cuba's Clever Daiquiri Diplomacy
By Steve Clemons, The Atlantic
8/16/11 Post-Castro Cuba needs a democracy, not a theocracy
By Carlos Eire, The Sun Sentinel
8/16/11 Cuban dissidents say cops again beat women
By Juan Tamayo, The Miami Herald
8/15/11 Is Cuba Going Capitalist?
By Mary O'Grady, Wall Street Journal
8/15/11 Many Cubans living abroad can’t return to Cuba
By Juan Tamayo, The Miami Herald
8/15/11 Singer Pablo Milanes Urges More Freedom in Cuba
8/12/11 Cuba's Fading Fidel Castro Turns 85 on Saturday
8/12/11 Cuba entrepreneurs grapple with taxes, an alien concept after decades of paternalism
AP, The Washington Post
8/11/11 Cuba’s Self-Employed & the Survival Struggle
Havana Times
8/10/11 Exile groups oppose Cuban musician Pablo Milanés’ Aug. 27 concert in Miami
Juan Carlos Chavez, El Nuevo Herald
8/9/11 Corruption again alleged in Cuba
Juan Tamayo, Miami Herald
8/8/11 Cuba travel suspended by U.S. tour company
Juan Tamayo, Miami Herald
8/8/11 Where Cubans Can Meet the Beatles at Last
Damien Cave, The New York Times
8/8/11 Engagement With Cuba Is Way to Undermine Communist Rule
Editorial Opinion, Bloomberg
8/7/11 WikiLeaks: Coast Guard officer is key U.S. man in Havana
Juan Tamayo, Miami Herald
8/7/11 In Cuba, free market proves easier said than done
Paul Haven, AP
8/6/11 Cuba opening to private enterprise spurs service sector start-ups
Tracy Wilkinson, Los Angeles Times
8/5/11 Cuba's famed cigar industry is heating up again
Marc Frank, Reuters
8/5/11 Cuba chops prices of agricultural equipment for newly authorized private farmers
Associated Press
8/5/11 Cuban Court Upholds Sentence for Jailed American
8/4/11 US Releases More Classified Bay of Pigs Documents
Associated Press
8/3/11 Leahy lifts hold on democracy funds for Cuba
By Juan Tamayo, The Miami Herald
8/3/11 Cubans Set for Big Change: Right to Buy Homes
Damien Cave, The New York Times
8/3/11 In Cuba, capitalism thrives on Craigslist-like sites
By Ron Buchanon, beyondbrics Financial Times
8/3/11 Dissident economist says Raul Castro not serious about taking on bureaucracy
By Juan Tamayo, The Boston Herald
8/2/11 Cuba viaja con equipos completos al Mundial de Judo en Par's
8/2/11 Study shows best places to protect marine mammals
8/2/11 Russians look to Cuban offshore reserves
8/2/11 Drill, Bebé, Drill
By Coral Davenport, National Journal
8/2/11 Castro says he will ease travel restrictions on Cubans
By Juan Tamayo, The Miami Herald
8/1/11 Current Record
8/1/11 United DC-Cancun flight diverted to Cuba by odor
By Peter Orsi, Associated Press
8/1/11 Newly authorized Cuba trips sell out fast, run into controversy
By Kitty Yancey, USA Today
8/1/11 Home sales would be a sea change for Cuba
By Mimi Whitefield, The Miami Herald