Report: Cubans Held Nearly 4,000 Anti-Communist Protests in 2022

People rally in front of Versailles, a Cuban restaurant in the Little Havana neighborhood, in support of the protests in Cuba on July 11, 2021 in Miami, Florida. Thousands took to the streets across Cuba to protest pandemic restrictions, the pace of Covid-19 vaccinations and the Cuban government. (Photo by …
Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Cuban citizens held 692 recorded protests against the communist Castro regime during December 2022 – bringing the total for the year to 3,923 protests, according to the latest report published by the Cuban Observatory of Conflict civil society organization on Monday.

The number of protests in December was higher than the 584 that the Observatory registered during the historic July 2021 wave of protests against the Castro regime and its puppet-president Miguel Díaz-Canel, making December 2022 the month with the highest number of anti-communist protests in Cuba in recent years.

The Observatory’s report details that, of the 692 protests that took place nationwide during December, 366 were spontaneous, while 326 were part of organized campaigns against the Castro regime. Only 170 of them were documented in Havana.

The report also stated that Cubans continued to explicitly protest the regime’s brutal repression even after the communist regime received help from Russia and Turkey to keep Cuba’s power grid from total collapse – one of the main protest drivers in much of the year. Among the factors fueling protests was the communist regime’s new penal code that went into effect in December, which heavily criminalizes “’subversive” or “harmful to society” activities. The code also increases the number of crimes punishable by death sentence, adding stealing a boat or airplane to flee from Cuba.

In addition to protests demanding political and civil rights, Cubans also protested for economic and social rights – and objected to the precarious state of Cuba’s public utilities, food shortages, inflation, housing, health, and transportation.

The Observatory’s December report concluded by commenting that Cubans “understand ─ even at the cusp of the wave of police-judicial-media terror unleashed after [July 11 ]─ that they have nothing to lose, and everything to gain,” by disturbing the status quo.

While December tallied the highest number of known protests, more and more Cubans are choosing to attempt to flee the country. The ongoing influx of Cuban refugees into America is now considered the worst migrant crisis in the island-nation’s history, with 283,189 Cubans entering the United States during 2022 according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection statistics.

United States Border Patrol (USBP) has reported a notable surge of Cuban balseros, or “rafters,” who arrived in Florida via makeshift boats of rats during the first days of 2023. 

On January 1, USBP authorities encountered 160 rafters in the vicinity of the Florida Keys. Approximately 300 Cuban refugees were reported to have arrived at the Dry Tortugas National Park in Florida, which prompted the national park to announce a temporary closure on January 2. Another group of over 20 Cuban rafters hailing from the Cuban province of Matanzas landed in Marathon, Florida, on Monday.

The Biden Administration continues to discourage Cuban rafters from risking their lives to flee from communism by detaining and swiftly deporting Cuban rafters, while doing little to secure the southern land border from illegal immigrants and Cuban refugees choosing the land route.

According to Johana Tablada, the Castro regime’s deputy director general for the United States of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the United States will soon resume deportation flights for Cubans that entered the United States via its border with Mexico.

“The returns of Cuban migrants intercepted at sea continue, and as I understand it, return flights for those called inadmissible are going to resume very soon, people that the United States does not accept in its territory and that it was agreed that they would be returned to Cuba as part of the bilateral agreements,” Tablada said on December 26. “All of this should constitute a discouragement to irregular emigration,” 

Christian K. Caruzo is a Venezuelan writer and documents life under socialism. You can follow him on Twitter here.


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