The Communist Party of Cuba trotted out 90-year-old Raúl Castro – the nation’s ultimate leader despite his official retirement – on Monday, claiming he participated in a Politburo meeting on the protests hitting the island on Sunday.
Cubans in at least 20 localities around the island organized peaceful manifestations on Sunday believed to have attracted thousands of people. Many marched chanting “freedom!” and slogans in opposition to communism. The immediate response from the Communist Party was violence; Cubans have uploaded multiple videos to social media appearing to show police officers opening fire on crowds of protesters, beating them with batons on the streets, and arresting and disappearing participants in the protests. Manifestations continued throughout Monday but the regime shut down access to the internet nearly across the country, preventing Cubans from sharing breaking news from the island outside of encrypted messages and some isolated images.
The official Communist