Thu | Dec 8, 2022

Cubans protest in Havana for second night over lack of power

Published:Saturday | October 1, 2022 | 10:56 AM
People protest asking for the restoration of the electrical service that collapsed last Tuesday due to the devastation of Hurricane Ian in Bacuranao, Cuba, Friday, September 30, 2022. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

HAVANA (AP) — Groups of Cubans protested Friday night in the streets of Havana for a second night, decrying delays in fully restoring electricity three days after Hurricane Ian knocked out power across the island.

A foreign monitoring group reported that Cuba's Internet service shut down for the second time in two days, saying it appeared to be unrelated to problems from the storm but rather an attempt to keep information about the demonstrations from spreading.

Associated Press journalists saw people demonstrating in at least five spots in the city or on its outskirts, including the Barreras and La Gallega districts where residents blocked streets with burning tires and garbage.

Masiel Pereira, a housewife, said that “the only thing I ask is that they restore the current for my children.”

A neighbour, Yunior Velásquez, lamented that “all the food is about to be lost” because there was no power for refrigerators.

On Thursday night, people protested at two points in the city's Cerro neighbourhood.

That area was mostly calm Friday with the power back on, although people were out on the important Villa Blanca Avenue chanting “We want light!” while banging pots with spoons.

Police blocked access to the street, but there were no confrontations.

The country of 11 million people was plunged into darkness Tuesday night, a few hours after Ian roared over western Cuba and triggered problems in the power system that eventually cascaded over the whole island.

Power was restored in some parts of the country the next day, but other areas were left without service, including in the capital.

The government did not say what percentage of the overall population remained without electricity Friday, but electrical authorities said only 10% of Havana's 2 million people had power as of late Thursday.

Internet and cell phone service also were out Thursday. Internet service returned Friday morning, at least in some areas, but in the evening it was interrupted again, groups monitoring access to the Internet reported.

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