Cubans Cry for 'Freedom'
Plus: Texas parolee prosecuted for voting, tales from the eviction moratorium, and more...
Cubans revolt over economic scarcity. Mass protests over Cuba's food and medicine shortages broke out in the Communist country over the weekend. "Our children are dying of hunger," shouted one woman in a video posted to Facebook. All told, hundreds of people in Havana, in San Antonio de los Baños, in Palma Soriano, and elsewhere reportedly took to the street.
Those numbers might not sound so staggering. But "in a country known for repressive crackdowns on dissent, the rallies were widely viewed as astonishing," The New York Times points out. "Activists and analysts called it the first time that so many people had openly protested against the Communist government since the so-called Maleconazo uprising, which exploded in the summer of 1994 into a huge wave of Cubans leaving the country by sea."
Cubans in 2021 are struggling due to government-imposed pandemic lockdowns, which have left many unable to work for months and put a stop to tourism and the money it brings in. The result has been a tanking economy and shortages of basic necessities.
"This is no longer a question of freedom of expression; it's a question of hunger. People are hitting the street. They are asking for an end to this government, to one-party rule, to repression and the misery we have lived through for 60 years," Havana theater director Adonis Milán told the Times.
Cuban government officials are still trying to blame the United States for the situation. For instance, Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel claimed the U.S. government is the main entity responsible for Cuba's economic troubles.
Some U.S. outlets have been playing along:
If you're making protests in Cuba out to be anything but a rejection of the communist regime in totality, you're ignoring 62+ years of destruction and pain caused by central planning precipitating peaceful protests.
— Gabriella Hoffman (@Gabby_Hoffman) July 12, 2021
Meanwhile, the Times has been taking some flak for its coverage of the protests, after labeling protesters' cries of "freedom" as shouting "anti-government slogans."
Says OpenSecrets researcher Anna Massoglia on Twitter: "If shouting 'Freedom' is anti-government, there might be something wrong with your government."
Following anti-govt protests, #Cuba's communist regime has allegedly shut down the internet multiple times in the past few hours. There have also been reports of phone lines services being cut off. Straight out of the Communist playbook: "censor and intimidate at all costs". pic.twitter.com/zb54kgpiOM
— Steve Hanke (@steve_hanke) July 12, 2021
Cuban authorities have reportedly been shutting down internet access in the country. But videos from the protests have still been spreading:
— Martha Bueno (@MarthaBueno18) July 11, 2021
To all those tourists who love visiting Cuba with euros, dollars, a future, freedom and a return ticket home, this is the REAL Cuba behind the great marketing pitch; not the charming old cars, amazing music and beautiful beaches. All Cubans and Venezuelans want is: FREEDOM. https://t.co/4G8EMOemSy
— Gabriela Montero (@monterogabriela) July 12, 2021
— Cristian Crespo F. (@cristiancrespoj) July 11, 2021
????????En hecho sin precedentes, miles salen a protestar pacíficamente en varios puntos de #Cuba. @DiazCanelB les acusa de mercenarios y vendidos al imperio, y llama a sus simpatizantes a combatirles violentamente. Deja claro que su gobierno es un violador de #DDHH y represor #SOSCuba pic.twitter.com/kMnigd0bbf
— Erika Guevara-Rosas (@ErikaGuevaraR) July 11, 2021
Texas man prosecuted for voting. A Texas man is facing 40 years in prison for voting while on parole. Hervis Rogers, a 62-year-old man who waited seven hours in line to vote in last year's presidential primary, is now imprisoned on $100,000 bail as he awaits prosecution for voting illegally.
Rogers said he mistakenly thought he was OK to vote in the primary, since he was done serving time. People who have been convicted of felonies in Texas can only vote after serving out their full sentences, including parole. But Texas also says that people must know they're ineligible to vote for it to be considered a crime.
"Rogers's prosecution really shows the danger of overcriminalizing the process of participating in a democratic society," Tommy Buser-Clancy, a senior staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, told The New York Times. "How the election code is being used to go after individuals who at worst have made an innocent mistake."
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton—who has been a big supporter of former President Donald Trump's unfounded conspiracy theories about mass election fraud—is milking the case for publicity nonetheless.
Hervis is a felon rightly barred from voting under TX law. This liberal NPR article even says so, but buries it: "Rogers voted before his parole was scheduled to end, he was likely ineligible to cast a ballot on Election Day."
I prosecute voter fraud everywhere we find it! https://t.co/cXTjGIXfe1
— Attorney General Ken Paxton (@KenPaxtonTX) July 9, 2021
"Enraged by his inability to find any evidence of the imaginary voter fraud he's been lying about, Ken Paxton decides to make an example of a black parolee who believed he was eligible to vote, as he should have been," comments Cato Institute fellow Julian Sanchez.
Tales from the eviction moratorium.
She's a physician assistant who rents out a unit in her Queens home. The tenants haven't paid in 15 months — and yell, spit and curse at her. She now has a second job just to cover their unpaid rent.
Her hellish story of being unable to evict them. https://t.co/GB4eOlaneU
— Matthew Haag (@matthewhaag) July 9, 2021
• The Volokh Conspiracy explains the logic behind a new trademark law ruling. "The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board rejects the mark 'Nigga' for clothing, because it's so commonly used by others that it doesn't serve to identify the applicant's products (logic that equally applies to 'Team Jesus,' 'Texas Love,' and 'God Bless the USA')."
• An update on Texas versus teen strippers:
A federal judge has granted an injunction against Texas's new law making it illegal for 18-20 years olds to work at strip clubs, temporarily allowing them to go back to work. https://t.co/KzpNRJxbOK pic.twitter.com/AWcl5psZhy
— Susan Elizabeth Shepard (@SusanElizabeth) July 12, 2021
• From Reason's August/September issue, a deep dive into U.S. Postal Service dysfunction:
— Post Apocalypse: Neither rain nor sleet nor snow will stop the U.S. Postal Service. But a pandemic on top of a political fiasco? That's a first-class problem.
— The Post Office Pension Ponzi Scheme: The USPS has overpromised and undersaved for its employees' retirements—all while losing nearly $9.2 billion last year.
— The USPS' Semi-Secret Internet Surveillance Apparatus: The agency best known for delivering mail has a side hustle in online snooping.
• Trump on January 6 rioters at the Capitol: "These were peaceful people, these were great people."
• U.S. cities are still fighting over backyard chickens.
• In Israel, a new Supreme Court decision "paved the way for same-sex couples to have children through surrogacy, capping a decade-old legal battle," reports The Washington Post. "Restrictions on surrogacy for same-sex couples and single fathers in Israel must be lifted within six months, the court ruled, giving authorities time to prepare for the change while making clear that it is a definitive one."
• Protecting and serving:
A 19-year-old Utah woman has been charged with a hate crime enhancement for allegedly destroying a "Back the Blue" sign in front of a police officer https://t.co/GLjLRQnUc6
— CJ Ciaramella (@cjciaramella) July 10, 2021