After Hurricane Ian left Cuba in the dark, protestors took to the streets. Now the government is set to charge them for leaving their homes during one of the world’s strongest hurricanes.
The government of Cuba is set to charge protesters who left their homes during Hurricane Ian in the city of Camaguey when the storm hit in October.
It marks the first time in recent years that the government has been able to take such action against the very people it has targeted with their state of emergency and other actions.
After protestors organised rallies as the government threatened to take action against them, some took part in a sit-in protest in the government’s headquarters building.
The government has been under intense pressure for weeks to take action against protestors since the storm hit.
Facing international condemnation and condemnation from the United States, the Canadian and most recently from the UK, the government has launched a review of the laws surrounding civil disobedience in Cuba.
The government told the BBC the changes made to the laws in order to make them more stringent, saying it would give the government powers that had never been used before.
The BBC’s Alastair Leithead reports.
The BBC’s Alastair Leithead in Havana
Some Cubans in Camaguey are happy to see the end of the emergency regulations which were put in place during the emergency declared on the island last October, as they thought the regulations could make the emergency difficult to resolve.
“We have already been living in a state of emergency since last October, and we do not want that to continue any further,” said Josefina Pérez, a 43-year-old business owner in Camaguey.
“What the government is doing is absolutely normal. By making it harder to get our rights back, the government is making a gesture of respect and a gesture of human dignity,” she said.
“It’s normal for us to ask for something like this. We are demanding to see the changes in the law. It could be done now.”
The laws are complex, with the government having the discretion to take any action it deems necessary to ensure the emergency is dealt with efficiently and without causing harm to public health and property.