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'There's nothing more political than hunger.' Intellectuals and artists react to the protests in Cuba.

Alina Bárbara López Hernández, Ulises Toirac, Yotuel, Randy Malcom, Osmani García, Cuqui la Mora, La Diosa, Leoni Torres, Daymé Arocena and others weigh in on the situation in Cuba, all of them sending the same message: 'No to violence'.

Cuban Comedian Ulises Toirac, one of those who has commented on the current situation on the island.
Cuban Comedian Ulises Toirac, one of those who has commented on the current situation on the island. Ulises Toirac/Facebook

After the protests this Sunday in Santiago de Cuba and other cities in the country, which triggered frays over the course of Monday and Tuesday, prompting major police deployments on Cuban streets, there have been several intellectuals and artists have spoken out on social media.

Through a live broadcast on the Facebook profile of the organization Cuba X Cuba, historian Alina Bárbara López Hernández asked the Government "to understand the gravity of what is happening in the country, and to assume its responsibilities, which is a substantial part of the current situation, and to avoid, by every means possible, crackdowns on people who are demonstrating peacefully."

From the Parque de la Libertad (park) in Matanzas, where the intellectual demonstrates on the 18th of each month, she demanded that the authorities respect the people's right to peaceful demonstration. Regarding the regime's downplaying of the protests and efforts to depoliticize them, López Hernández stated: "There's nothing more political than hunger, than not being able to feed a child."

In her message she also reserved a few words for those who have demonstrated in recent days, and to those who plan to continue doing so: "Let's try to respect civic spaces. Peaceful demonstration is a right, and one should not be ashamed, but let's avoid violence by all means... we have a voice, but that voice must should not be raised with violence."

The intellectual also stated that "we have a historical responsibility, and that is why it's important that we realize what is happening." Regarding her presence in the park, and the behavior of repressive authorities in response to her civic act of protest, she said, "I haven't been bothered. There are people who are very aware of what I'm doing, but that doesn't worry me: I'm expressing myself freely. I wish everyone could do the same thing."

Comedian Ulises Toirac, meanwhile, wrote on his Facebook profile: "An increasing number of people are facing extreme economic situations, without a drastic change of course in sight that could give people a modicum of hope. More serious than the lack of hope is the absence of any glimpse of it in the future."

"I'm not inciting anyone to violence.  Personally, I hate violence, and consider it only as a last and desperate resort," he said, calling on the authorities to take into account "the desperate situation of families. Hopefully things don't get out of hand in a catastrophic way. They're already out of control. They have been for a while," he concluded.

Singer Yotuel Romero, who wrote the song "Patria y Vida," which has become a protest anthem in Cuba, transmitted a message to the Cuban military through his Instagram account: "You're not allowed on their planes, you're not in their plans, you're not part of their families, but it's not too late to stand by the Cuban people, because you're going to confront the anger of a people thirsting for freedom, thirsting for life, thirsting for hope."

Along the same lines was the message of the reggaeton artist Osmani García, who echoed the messages against violence and added: "The only way is for those weapons to no longer to defend those who have made us hungry, by force, without even giving us the right to say that we're hungry."

Likewise, singer Randy Malcolm, a member of the urban music duo Gente de Zona, wrote on his Instagram account: "Your Revolution is useless, it's a failure, and you turn a blind eye for your personal benefit... There are desperate mothers and fathers who have no way to feed their children. Nothing works in your repulsive Revolution; not the health system, or education, or food. The people need a change, and it's urgent. Release all the political prisoners, now."

For his part, singer Leoni Torres wrote on his Instagram account: "Sooner or later, it will come!" Fellow singer Lenier Mesa demanded "freedom for my brothers, an end to hunger, an end to abuse."

The comedian Cuqui la Mora issued a message on her Instagram account in which she stated that "freedom is near. Demanding your rights is not a crime; peacefully, without violence; it's time to remove them from power. United, the world supports you, we won't abandon you, don't let them take you," he said.

Along the same lines was the message from actress and singer La Diosa, who, through a live broadcast on her Facebook profile, said: "It's time for all of  us to go out together. Don't be afraid. The world is watching."

In addition, the singer and former member of the popular group Los Van Van, Yeny Valdés, wrote on her Instagram account: "In the name of an ideology and a party, you can't condemn an entire people to suffer from hunger and misery, you can't play with the lives of children and old people. It's humanly detestable. I demand respect for those people who are voluntarily and peacefully demonstrating in the street today. No to violence, and respect for freedom," the singer concluded. 

"What worries me most about the situation in Cuba is how brutish the police and military have become. I cannot understand how they can attack someone who is demanding from the Communist Party the same things that affect him," said singer Daymé Arocena.

All of those cited in this article, with the exception of Alina Bárbara López Hernández and Ulises Toirac, reside outside of Cuba.

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