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The “Luz de Alarma” protest lit up towns and cities in Cuba to claim that the heads of the Communist Party cannot decide the future of the nation for the people.

Last night, houses and neighborhoods of the Island were filled with lights from cell phones, candles and flashlights in a non-violent protest promoted by the Cuba Decide initiative. The protest was carried out by many civil society organizations and by thousands of Cubans who decided to light a #LuzdeAlarma just before the start of the 8th Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba (PCC). This message repeated thousands of times starting at 8:32 PM this Thursday, flooding the social networks of Cubans: “I turn on the alarm light because Cuba is not the PCC, Cuba belongs to all Cubans”.

Rosa María Payá, promoter of Cuba Decide, explained that “the regime has made a great propaganda effort to promote the VIII Party Congress as a moment of change. It is a fraudulent change; power remains in the hands of the Castro family and the small group of generals who own the military conglomerate. On the island, everyone knows that the congress is a staged and designed for external consumption. It is merely to put a civil face to the dictatorship and to attempt to gain economic concessions from Washington and Europe in a nominal way, while the Cuban people continue to be excluded. Democratic change in Cuba will only begin when fundamental human rights are guaranteed, when citizens have the real possibility to participate and when the Cuban regime submits to the sovereign will of the people. That is a change in the system that we are demanding.”

“It is not a mystery that Cuba is in the midst of a deep and worrying crisis which is only aggravated by the inept and corrupt government. The regime is more concerned with exercising state terrorism against its citizens than with offering solutions to the uncontrolled epidemic of scabies that plagues the country, for example. We are outraged and very unhappy, however this was a joyful activity, full of energy, music, light and most importantly, made directly by the citizens because we want to have a voice.”, said Esteban Rodríguez, activist from Havana. 

In a clear mockery of the reformists’ speculations made by the international press, the regime has said that this is “the congress of continuity”. José Daniel Ferrer, leader of UNPACU and promoter of Cuba Decide, encouraged the protest from Santiago de Cuba saying: “This will not continue, because Cuba is tired of oppression and misery, because we Cubans want to live in freedom”.

Thousands of Cubans participated inside and even outside the island. Many images and videos of the protest are available on the social media profiles of Cuba Decide.