On Saturday June 22nd, the majority of residents of the neighborhood known as El Batey, in Grua Nueva, Ciego de Avila, publicly protested the horrible conditions of a heavily transited main road.
According to dissident Santa Gonzalez Pedroso, vice-president of the Rosa Parks Movement for Civil Rights, the motive for the protest was that the main street was in very bad conditions, it was dirty and produced lots of dust, which directly affected locals.
“Here in Grua Nueva, Ciego de Avila, there are many children with a cold, there are many elderly neighbors in wheelchairs and other bedridden sick people, and this dust was asphyxiating all of us”, said Gonzalez Pedroso.
Neighbors have been complaining for a couple of days but their desperation finally tipped over on Saturday and “they took to the streets to demand a local delegate of Grua Nueva to fix the problem“, explained the activist. She said she was arriving to her house at that very moment when she saw the crowd of protestors.
The citizens remained out on the street demanding repairs to the street, which is transited by all neighbors and by all cars and trucks trying to get to other towns. The persistence of the demonstrators was so much that the delegate actually had to travel to the scene. His response, however, was that he would not fix anything because that was “a troublesome” neighborhood.
The response of the protestors was to block the entrance point of the road.
“All of the neighbors, including dissidents and everyday citizens, used lots of rocks and sticks to block off the entrance of the road“, recounts Gonzalez, explaining that this impeded cars from passing through. It was a form of civil disobedience.
The result of the protest was that a number of government workers were sent to the scene with a pipe to water down the dirt road and some of the dust was eliminated and cars could finally pass by.
Santa Gonzalez classifies the events as a victory, but an incomplete victory nonetheless, considering that the discontent level is still high amongst the locals of El Batey, Grua Nueva and the road is not completely fixed.
“Something big is going to happen here because the delegate says he is not going to fix this road, but they are going to have to fix it because it’s not just us, the dissident, who are demanding this. It’s the people of Grua Nueva“, expresses Gonzalez, “Of course, the delegate fixed his own road, but the people here are publicly saying that that’s not fair“.
For more information from Cuba, contact:
Santa González Pedroso – Cell Phone: +58-163-728 / Twitter: @Santacuba1