(CNN Spanish) — A blackout that lasted several hours this Thursday caused the inhabitants of a municipality in western Cuba to take to the streets to demonstrate against the government, a trend that has been repeated in recent weeks.
The protest – which took place in Los Palacios, in the province of Pinar del Río, about 116 kilometers by car from Havana – was first denounced on some social networks and later confirmed on Facebook by the president of the Assembly of the municipality , Jose Ramon Cabrera Miranda.
Cabrera Miranda said that the blackout had occurred in the area due to damage to a “main transmission line” due to inclement weather.
In a video, the official appears explaining that as “a product of this situation, a group of comrades from our territory takes to the streets with dissatisfaction, a certain number of people gather with cauldrons in their hands and so on. And we, as part of our people, as leaders, went out to exchange in person… the mayor, the party authorities, the authorities of the territory”.
Although in other videos published on social networks, protesters are heard demanding the return of electricity and shouting insults against President Miguel Díaz-Canel and other slogans against the government, which is considered a crime in Cuba, Cabrera Miranda did not refer to these episodes.
“We were inside them, exchanging, hugging each other, transmitting confidence and explaining to them what the real situation was that the municipality was experiencing,” added Cabrera Miranda in his video.
The same official reported that the electricity was restored this Thursday night and that there was no one who was “violated” after the day: “They left in agreement (…), at no time was there aggression, not even by the people to their authorities.”
This Thursday’s protest comes a month after another blackout caused rejection at the state university in the province of Camagüey. According to press reports and videos that circulated on social networks at the time, several students gathered in the dark and demanded that the service be restored.
That demonstration ended after power was restored, according to the same reports.
In recent months, the Electric Union of Cuba (UNE) has reported a generation deficit and breakdowns in various plants. The island’s electrical infrastructure is old and poorly maintained, leading to recurring widespread blackouts dating back to the 1990s.
This week, UNE and the Cuban presidency reported that the island was in deficit in electricity generation since several generating units were out of service or under maintenance.
Last June, Díaz-Canel had anticipated during a meeting with governors that “the blackouts are going to continue in the coming days,” according to the official media outlet Cubadebate.
The protest in Los Palacios also takes place shortly after a year has passed since the social outbreak of July 11, 2021 in which thousands of Cubans spontaneously took to the streets to demand improvements in their living conditions, and for which hundreds were imprisoned.
Patrick Oppmann contributed to this report