More than a month after ordinary Cubans jubilantly welcomed President Barack Obama to Havana, the Communist government is finding it hard to dampen the afterglow, AP reports:
But few people interviewed around the capital this week showed signs of accepting government arguments that Obama was simply the expertly packaged spokesman for U.S. corporate interests that want to economically recolonize Cuba.
The thaw in Cuba-U.S. relations and a stagnant economy may be contributing to the increase in public expressions of dissatisfaction with the Cuban government. Experts say the protests are the natural result of a decaying regime, notes this Miami Herald report:
They call it “The Valley of Prehistory,” an odd park with oversized sculptures of dinosaurs and other ancient animals in the Baconao National Park on the outskirts of Santiago de Cuba. And that’s where hundreds of dissidents, neighbors and supporters turned up recently, in what was designed as a fun outing for children as well as a show of the growing popularity of Cuba’s largest opposition group.
A video of the outing shot by the dissident Cuban Patriotic Union, known as UNPACU, shows images unthinkable only a few years ago in an island where the government systematically dismisses its opponents as microscopic groups of “mercenaries” financed by the U.S. government.
The Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation said this week that there are currently 93 political prisoners on the island, and that 21 of them have been behind bars for between 13 and 24 years.
The latest release adds 22 names that were not on the list of June 2015, which it calls “another sign of the degenerating” political and human rights situation in Cuba.