Demonstrators expressed frustration at food shortages, rising prices and the lack of covert vaccines. The government blames the u.s for the unrest and is rallying its own supporters Applause. They are crying out for freedom in the streets of havana. This the greatest show of discontent with the socialist government since the 1990s like back then. The trigger for this protest is the desperate economic situation. Right now, the country is suffering from food shortages we’re here because of the repression of the people. They are starving us to death. Havana is collapsing, we have no homes, nothing soon, the police arrive and they begin to drag off people in the crowd. The arrests and the violence only make the demonstrators angrier, we’re, not afraid they cry out. Security beat me and my daughter, a child. They beat us just because we were walking down. The street supporters of the government have been out in the streets too. President miguel diaz canal himself led this rally. He was organized quickly in a town outside havana, where the anti government protest began early on sunday. We came here to show, together with the revolutionaries here, that the streets belong to us with the president encouraging supporters to mobilize against opponents. There were ugly confrontations here, revolutionaries detained opposition protesters. The cubans who are here we are never going to give up this revolution. Never a communist regime has ruled cuba since 1959. It survived the fall of the soviet union and the death of its founder fidel castro.

Now it is again being challenged, but displays like these show. It is unlikely to go without a fight. Ted henkin is an associate professor at the city university of new york specializing in cuba, and he joins me now ted thanks for your time. Scenes like this are pretty rare in cuba. Who’S behind these protests. Well, i think it’s fairly obvious that the people are behind it. This is a protest that has no leader has no organization. That may be a weakness of it going forward, but it seems to have broken through because the accumulated frustration over the past two one or two years with the economic crisis, food shortages, medical shortages caused primarily by the economic system of cuba, that’s, inefficient and unproductive. And on top of that, of course, you have the u.s embargo that isolates or attempts to isolate and cut cuba off. I think the people are caught in the middle and they’re fed up with excuses with lies with manipulation. The government claims that this is orchestrated paid by the united states. How do you get people in six or eight cities all across cuba? Thousands of people in each case to protest from the united states it’s ridiculous to claim that at the same time, we don’t know really what the next step is, how the government is responding now it seems to be inflaming the protesters and not leading to any kind Of negotiated solution, could this be the start? Do you think of a major opposition movement against the communist regime? Well, i would say that it’s a continuation back in november of 2000, you had the beginnings of an unprecedented uh coming together of artists intellectuals, who had mostly kept quiet, kept their heads down, so they could keep their jobs and their positions, and they came out in The street at the end of november to protest – and that was scuttled.

But it has kind of gone underground and has built up a following that led to uh the the the chant and the song patria evita homeland and life. That was directly aimed at the government’s claim of either you choose the homeland or death. That was a very popular song, and that was the thing that many of the protesters were chanting. So this seems to be a continuation of that, but it’s been triggered by the scarcity of medicines and the spike the sudden and deadly spike and covet cases and covert deaths in various parts of the country. Right all right, cuba, expert ted, henkin, thanks very much for your analysis.