Last weekend Cuba erupted in anti-government protests amid countrywide shortages of food and medicine, as well as constant power outages during one of the hottest months of the year. These protests aren’t new, but questions quickly arose about why the protests started this time.
Depending on who you ask you’ll get a variety of answers. Some cite four years of strict sanctions under the Trump administration while others blame the pandemic. Still, others blame both the sanctions and pandemic as well as a communist regime that has gripped the country for decades.
When I heard the news about the protests I was glad I had recently watched a Netflix documentary called Cuba and the Cameraman. It is a Netflix original documentary from 2017 filmed by Emmy award-winning filmmaker John Alpert that follows the climate of the island and its people over the course of 45 years. It was truly enlightening for me to see how Cubans live and why so many flee to the United States and vow never to return.
During the Obama administration, I was excited to see that he had opened Cuba up to tourism because as with countless other countries tourism dollars go a long way in improving the economy of a country and ultimately the lives of its people. But with the pandemic, that lucrative financial stream to Cuba cut off virtually overnight. The consequences have been devastating spurring protests that are currently ongoing.
Watch Cuba and the Cameraman on Netflix.