Cuba

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:

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."

Cuban authorities have reportedly been shutting down internet access in the country. But videos from the protests have still been spreading:


FREE MINDS 

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.

"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.


FREE MARKETS

Tales from the eviction moratorium. 


QUICK HITS

• 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:

• 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: