Happy Friday! We hope you and yours are well.
For your weekend reading list, be sure to check out Cuba’s Digital Revolution: Citizen Innovation and State Policy written by Ted A. Henken and Sara García Santamaria. This collection of essays explores the evolution of internet access in Cuba and the impact that increased levels of access have had on Cuba’s cultural, economic, social, and political spheres.
Public health authorities have released Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara, artist and leader of the San Isidro Movement (MSI), from Havana’s General Calixto Garcia University Hospital after nearly four weeks at the facility with limited communication. Mr. Otero intends to share his experience with the public and emphasized that the struggles against state censorship on the island are not over. Last week, Amnesty International declared Mr. Otero a “prisoner of conscience” while local artists in Havana asked the Museum of Fine Arts to remove their work until authorities released the activist and government surveillance ended.
After struggling to obtain visas to travel to the U.S. to participate in the Americas Olympic Qualifying Tournament, Cuba’s international baseball team made it to the U.S., but will not be competing in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. Unfortunately, the team was eliminated from the tournament after losing games against Venezuela and Canada this week. While playing against Venezuela, protesters surrounded the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches stadium in West Palm Beach, Florida. The protesters stood outside of the stadium during the game and held Cuban and Venezuelan flags while demanding reforms in both countries.
Health authorities have opened a total of 473 vaccination sites in Havana to administer the Abdala vaccine. As Cuba extends its vaccination campaign throughout the island, Argentina has expressed interest in collaborating with the production of the Abdala and Soberana II vaccines. In response to economic shortages on the island, Cubans and others abroad have begun campaigns to collect needles and syringes. The Saving Lives Campaign and Global Health Partners have founded an online initiative to provide the island with much needed medical supplies. Without donations, the shortages have the potential to halt vaccination efforts.
Yesterday, Cuba reported 146,696 cases of COVID-19. There are currently 5,798 total active cases of COVID-19 on the island, an increase from the previous day. Havana reported the largest number of new cases by far compared to other provinces at 455. The total number of deaths since last March is 992. For a graph of case numbers since March 2020, see here. For a detailed breakdown of all COVID-19 data, visit this website. In response to rising COVID-19 numbers, Cuba’s government has begun a mass vaccination campaign. Cuba’s struggling economy is also suffering in the face of the pandemic.
This week, in Cuba news…
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