After Hurricane Ian left Cuba in the dark, protestors took to the streets. Now the government is set to charge them for the electricity they used to power their radios and light their torches and the sound of their singing.
In the days after Hurricane Ian tore through Cuba, electricity was knocked out for most of the island’s residents.
The state-run electricity company, known as AECEL, put out a notice in Spanish and English: “Due to the power outage, there are currently no internet access or electricity. However, we will continue to provide these services as soon as possible. To avoid being disconnected without a refund, please use the following services: internet, cellphones, radios.”
On Monday morning, a spokesman for the company issued a statement in Spanish and English.
“Due to power outages in Cuba, Internet, cellphones, radios and electricity were disrupted,” the statement read. “The Cuban government and AECEL are working to restore all services as soon as possible. However, due to the time and distance, this is not possible.”
Cuba has for years refused to let the U.S. government use U.S. companies to shut down power lines for Cuba’s own use. In 2016, the island’s communist leader said the U.S. government would not be allowed to use a French company to shut down lines for Cuba.
Cuba, however, has allowed some U.S.-based companies—including American Electric Power and Entergy—to run lines through Cuba for a fee, and the companies have long enjoyed a close business relationship with Cuban officials.
The Trump administration’s decision to lift the embargo against Cuba and its many changes to U.S. policy has made this issue more pressing.
“The United States will no longer allow the Cuban government to exercise control over telecommunications providers, blocking communications for