Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel called on his supporters to dialogue with the protesters. On July 10 and 11, one of the largest protests in the past nearly 30 years took place in the country. Thousands of Cubans rallied against the government: if at first they gathered only on the streets of Havana, then later the actions took place in more than 20 cities across the island. The reason was the dissatisfaction of the population with the policy of the head of state: the protesters were outraged by the interruptions in the supply of food and electricity. Miguel Diaz-Canel pledged that the authorities are doing everything possible to solve these problems, and then urged his supporters to take to the streets. But this ended in clashes between protesters.
The US responded to the situation in Cuba – they noted that they strongly condemn any violence against protesters. Mikhail Beliat, an independent expert on Latin America, does not exclude that the authorities will try to suppress the protests by force: “Of course, the people are on edge, the country has a very difficult economic situation, a terrible social picture, plus COVID-19. The fact is that recently the number of cases in Cuba has increased dramatically, there is a shortage of places in hospitals, although the country has traditionally very strong and skillful doctors, in any case, they are sent from there throughout Latin America.
Cuban medicine is considered one of the best on this continent. But nevertheless, she did not cope with the wave of COVID-19, which also served as a spark that fell on the fertile ground of popular discontent. Of course, it was not done without external intervention. The propaganda component, of course, is there: radio Marti is constantly broadcasting from Florida – such a peculiar tool. I look at the unfolding events with great concern and regret, because Miguel Diaz-Canel is a rather tough leader. He has already called on the communists to take to the streets, to confront, as he said, traitors and hirelings.
Troops are gathering, and, of course, if there was a call, then both the communists and the so-called workers’ detachments will come out, clashes with the protesters will begin.
As a result, a very serious and bloody civil conflict could flare up. ”
Cuba is one of the favorite destinations for Russians, usually our country is in the top 3 in terms of the number of tourists visiting the island. Due to the pandemic, the tourist flow has significantly decreased, but even now thousands of Russian travelers are resting there. However, what is happening on the island now does not threaten them, and these events do not affect the demand specifically, which cannot be said about the statements of the Cuban authorities about the increase in the quarantine period, Artur Muradyan, general director of the tour operator Space Travel, told Kommersant FM. If such measures are taken, the outflow of Russians from Cuba will be colossal, the expert is sure:
“Russian tourists, of course, are not concentrated where protests are taking place. They are predominantly found in Varadero and Cayo Coco. If we talk about the current situation, then there is already an outflow of sales to Cuba, associated with the latest negative news in the media about false positive PCR tests. Plus, we see that the Cuban authorities are now considering the option of increasing the quarantine to two weeks in the event of a positive test, which in no way can suit travelers who are going to go there to rest. At the same time, the number of flights to the country is still minimal in relation to what we are used to in dock time. And still it is impossible to call a significant flow: there are only three flights a week.
Local protests for the most part do not have a negative effect on Russian tourists. Now, if the antiquarian measures are tightened, then this factor can definitely affect the decrease in demand.
Traditionally, tourists stay on the territory of hotels or go on excursions locally. But here is an important point that the host companies may offer an alternative route or not conduct any excursions, without particularly informing tourists about the reasons for their decisions. That is, people once again at the resorts are trying not to bother and not report on the local unstable political situation. Traveling to Cuba, tourists are well aware that this is a country of socialism, therefore, they are sympathetic to the local way of life and mentality. This is a traditional factor that attracts Russians – slowness and impulsiveness mixed in one place. Until it touches the territories of resorts, hotels or workers associated with the tourist infrastructure, there is nothing to worry about. Now, if this affects airports, then tourists will definitely notice it, and the outflow will begin instantly. ”
Meanwhile, international human rights defenders report injured and detained during protests in Cuba. In addition, according to them, the country may soon begin to turn off the Internet.