Saturday, June 6, 2020

In Santiago de Cuba, an impossible containment

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In the easternmost town on the island, it is getting hot, water and food are lacking. Residents suffer in overcrowded housing and the curfew often cannot be respected. Portrait of a town hostage to the coronavirus.

Neither the increasing heat nor the official measures against the Covid-19 succeed in dissuading the inhabitants from going out on the streets in Santiago de Cuba. The need to shop and a weak perception of risks would act even in the opposite direction.

For many residents of Santiago, reminders from the local press not to go out after 7 p.m. are difficult to comply with.

The Provincial Defense Council [une entité qui a le pouvoir de décision durant l’état d’urgence dans chaque province] enacted its measures on April 3, but last weekend [4 et 5 avril], pedestrians were numerous, and sometimes grouped in the squares and avenues of the big city of the Orient [la partie orientale de l’île].

“In Santiago, [le confinement] is very little respected. On Saturday, the police had to intervene with his dogs to get people out of the parks ”, Luis Ponce, a young Santiaguero at the head of an appliance repair shop, tells by telephone. According to him, the population has still not appreciated the gravity of the situation.

The culture of open doors

The crowding of residents in their homes contributes greatly to making Santiago a city known to live “open doors”.

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Founded by famous blogger Yoani Sánchez – awarded numerous international prizes – this digital newspaper was launched on May 21, 2014, seven years after the alternative blog Generation Y first launched by the journalist.

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