After Hurricane Ian left Cuba in the dark, protestors took to the streets. Now the government is set to charge them for their efforts, while the Cubans’ response to the government’s plan to cut pensions is also taking shape.
One of the key pieces in the anti-government opposition is the call for the release of all Cubans held in prisons—including those of dissidents—even as the government has vowed to free only the most dangerous prisoners, namely political prisoners.
Many of the people who have been arrested are Cuban citizens, who have simply fallen victim to the government’s decision-making. Others are US citizens who have fled to the island to escape the violence inflicted by the Castros. And now, under pressure from the opposition and the US government, the Cuban government is making an offer to all these people: they will be freed if they agree to sign a document that will, they say, guarantee the freedom of political prisoners, even if they were arrested on ‘unjust grounds’.
This offers them a lifeline, because it will mean that many of them won’t be jailed, but instead will be allowed to return to Cuba, where they would be under house arrest, or else they could continue to live abroad.
We know this is a threat to the US, and the US government is now trying to work out a deal of its own as an outcome. In the meantime, the Cuban government is asking for an apology.
What was the government’s response to the anti-government protests? A new plan
Under the plan, called ‘Programa de Derechos Humanos’ (Program for Human Rights), the government will offer amnesty and political rights to any arrested protester—no matter how ‘unjust’ the reasons for their arrest.
It has also promised to grant political rights to any detained leader who has fled the island to avoid arrest.
On Tuesday, the government published a video, called ‘Como vamos a tratar a los ciudadanos’, which showed the first stage of the program: ‘If you’re arrested, we will give you amnesty. If you’re not arrested, we offer you the chance to return to Cuba to live under house arrest.’