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Anti-government protesters march in Havana, Cuba, July 11, 2021. Anti-government protesters march in Havana, Cuba, July 11, 2021 (AP photo by Eliana Aponte).

A New Culture of Dissent Is Remaking Cuba’s Politics

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

In mid-February, a court in Holguin, Cuba, about 500 miles east of Havana, handed down sentences of up to 20 years in prison to 20 people convicted of sedition the previous month. Their crime, and that of the hundreds of others like them still awaiting verdicts elsewhere, was to have participated in widespread protests last summer, some peaceful but some violent, that took the Cuban government—and the world—by surprise.

As shocking as those protests were, they didn’t come out of the blue. Right now, Cubans are enduring the worst economic and social crisis since the 1990s, when the collapse of the Soviet Union plunged the island into a decade-long depression. Today’s upheaval, though, comes at a time of even greater political ferment on the Caribbean island. ...

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