Wednesday, October 30, 2013

State Security Tries to Stop Possible Mass Demonstration

State Security Tries to Stop Possible Mass Demonstration / Miriam Celaya
Posted on October 30, 2013

HAVANA, Cuba , October 2013, Rumors have been
circulating in the past few days about an alleged "strike" or
"demonstration" of the self-employed to be held in Havana next November
1st. This is not an extended commentary on society, but it's limited to
the self-employed sector, stemming from official countermeasures that
aim to increase controls on small family-owned clothing businesses.
Some say that this call to a public and peaceful protest, with a march
ending at the Plaza Cívica -(Plaza de la Revolución)- was summoned "from
outside", while others claim that it is the initiative of a group of
self-employed who have been affected by recent government restrictions
particularly harmful to those who trade in articles of clothing, and
that it will soon reach other private businesses.

Whether or not these rumors about the protest are true, places in Centro
Habana, some of which were once shops, where now several private workers
group together to offer their services, be it merchandise sales,
equipment repair or even bodybuilders gyms, have been visited by agents
of the State Security ("DTI agents", according to some people), who have
warned the self-employed" that disorder or disturbances will not be

On the real possibility that there will be an autonomous demonstration
in Cuba without being suffocated even before it starts, there is every
reason for doubt. In fact, some argue that potential marching groups
have already been infiltrated by the political police, something that is
not new. Nevertheless, government measures that keep limiting or
stifling private businesses are accentuating the discontent in a sector
that has begun to identify itself as independent, legitimate and
self-funded, and the insertion of agents to contain their claims would
not be sufficient in the mid-term. Additionally, there are many
self-employed who already view the Party-Government-State as a parasitic
entity that feeds on them, and not as the benefactor that, until
recently, guaranteed certain social benefits.

Other rumors have been anticipating that the turnaround will expand to
other private businesses, including to 3D theaters that have been
proliferating in several provinces, and more so in the capital,
heralding the increase in volume of dissenters who would join the chorus
of protests.

If the new edicts of the olive-green caste generate a level of
dissatisfaction sufficient to breed a movement of protest and eventually
become an alternative social force is something to be seen. However, the
deployment of repressive agents around self-employed merchants is
evidence of the government's concern with the potential of a sector
that, in current circumstances, brings together the biggest and best
conditions to stand up to power.

In any case, even if said protests of the self-employed don't take
place, the acknowledged concern of government officials in the face of a
rumor should serve as a sample button to private businessmen about their
mobilizing potential to transform Cuba's reality, not from the meager
and illusory "economic opening" dispensed from the cupola as a function
of the interests of the authorities, but from the interests, needs, and
the will power of independent subjects, an unwanted effect miscalculated
by the General-President when he decided to open his Pandora 's Box of

By Miriam Celaya

Translated by Norma Whiting

Cubanet, 29 October 29, 2013

Source: "State Security Tries to Stop Possible Mass Demonstration /
Miriam Celaya | Translating Cuba" -

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