Calls growing for Cuban military to side with the people as protests erupt over energy, food shortages

As protests erupt anew in Cuba over energy and food shortages, calls are growing for the military to side with the people and for the Communist regime to come to an end after more than 60 years.

Hundreds of people on Sunday took the streets in eastern Cuba, primarily Santiago, though there were reports of protests in a number of other parts of the island.

The protests came after weeks of rolling blackouts, compounding frustrations of food shortages and inflation.

As first highlighted by ADN Cuba, numerous Cuban artists and public figures have taken to social media in recent days to bring the world’s attention to the unfolding situation.


A woman with her son signals a car on a dark street during a blackout in Bauta municipality, Artemisa province, Cuba, on March 18, 2024.  (YAMIL LAGE/AFP via Getty Images)

Grammy-winning musician Yotuel Romero called on military personnel, “who have not yet stained their hands with blood” to not attack the people of Cuba.

Miami-based Cuban presenter Carlos Otero called on the military to “lay down your weapons [and] take the side of the people.”

“Those people that you are ordered to repress are your brothers,” he said.


Cuban singer AlbitaRodríguez implored the military to “not mistreat those people who are asking for freedom, food, and light.”

ADN Founder Gelet Martinez Fragela told Fox News Digital that the Cuban regime’s popularity is at a “record low, and there is discontent even within the military.”

Aerial view of Havana, Cuba. (Frédéric Soltan/Corbis via Getty Images)

“Many Cuban veterans and police are living in extreme poverty, which has plunged the island into scarcity and fear,” Fragela said. “The movement to call out the military is an important initiative because it’s coming from all kinds of diverse sectors of Cuban civil society from artists to ex-military officers.

Fragela argued that the movement to call out the military is an important initiative because “it’s coming from all kinds of diverse sectors of Cuban civil society from artists to ex-military officers.”

She said the protests signified cracks in the wall. If they continue, even sporadically, Fragela said, “we will see an end to the longest dictatorship in the Western Hemisphere.”

The U.S. Embassy urged the Cuban government to respect the protests in a post on its Facebook page.

“We urge the Cuban government to respect the human rights of the protesters and attend to the legitimate needs of the Cuban people,” it said.

Protesters take to the streets in Cuba over food and electricity shortages. (Reuters)

Cuba Decide, a citizen initiative working to make Cuba more democratic, issued a public statement to the protesters on Wednesday, telling them: “You are not alone.”

“The Cuban nation lives inside and outside the Island, we are one people and we will not stop until we recover freedom, homeland, and life.”

“We call on the police and military forces not to repress peaceful protesters. You have the option not to participate in violence and to stand on the side of the people,” the statement read. “The democratic future is approaching, where law enforcement protects citizens, and in that new system where there will be a Rule of Law and justice will be exercised, there is room for all Cubans.”

Cuba Decide called for the “unconditional release” of all political prisoners, and the end of ongoing suppression. The group said the only way out of the crisis was “to get rid of the dictatorship.”

Cuba Decide CEO Rosa María Payá Acevedo, whose dissident father was killed by the Cuba regime, told Fox News Digital that the Cuban people “are ready for that change.”

“The Cuban people have been suffering for too long. It’s time to end the political apartheid. And not just for the sake of the Cuban people, but to have a peaceful and stable hemisphere,” Acevedo said.

Bradford Betz is a Fox News Digital breaking reporter covering crime, political issues, and much more. 

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