Here in the United States, we are prone to some exaggeration, particularly when it comes to how we’re treated by our government.
On any given day, you’ll hear a vast variety of different hyperbolic narratives being espoused in the media. So-and-so is “literally Hitler”, or that some new anti-terrorism policy is the worst nightmares of Orwell come to life.
But these are mostly just our theatrics and dramatics. We aren’t truly living under tyranny, but, rather, we enjoy taking things to their farthest destination first in the United States – tossing out the heaviest, most final suggestions early just to see if they have any real stick to them. If they don’t, then there’s no point in arguing further.
But every now and again we are gifted a reminder of what a real horror show actual tyranny is, and this week, our example comes from just a few miles south of Florida.
Cubans facing the country’s worst economic crisis in decades took to the streets over the weekend. In turn, authorities blocked social media sites in an apparent effort to stop the flow of information into, out of and within the beleaguered nation.
Restricting internet access has become a tried-and-true method of stifling dissent by authoritarian regimes around the world, alongside government-supported disinformation campaigns and propaganda. On the extreme side, regimes like China and North Korea exert tight control over what regular citizens can access online. Elsewhere, service blockages are more limited, often cutting off common social platforms around elections and times of mass protests.
There was no formal organizer of Sunday’s protests; people found out about the rallying points over social media, mostly on Twitter and Facebook, the platforms most used by Cubans. The thousands of Cubans who took to the streets — protesters and pro-government activists alike — wielded smartphones to capture images and send them to relatives and friends or post them online.
Cubans have been suffering from hunger and a lack of COVID-19 supplies in recent weeks, prompting many to take a more in-depth look at their entire economic system…thus prompting these nationwide protests.