Photos Show Hundreds of Cuban Troops in Plainclothes Impersonating Civilians at a Pro-Government Rally
The Cuban regime tried to cheat the world at a pro-government rally by stuffing the meager crowd with soldiers in civilian clothes, DailyMail.com can reveal.
These exclusive photos show hundreds of young recruits from some of Cuba’s poorest areas taken away from the event in Russian military trucks last week.
The meeting, attended by former President Raul Castro and his successor, Miguel Diaz-Canel, was held opposite the US embassy and was intended to send a signal that Cubans were unwavering in their loyalty to the repressive communist government.
But these exclusive photos — taken from a hotel where DailyMail.com undercover journalists spent a mandatory six-day Covid quarantine — told a very different story.
Long after the local and international TV cameras and other media had gone, the casually dressed troops were brought to the fore and marched on about 20 trucks lined up to take them back to the barracks.
The major deception was part of Cuba’s ongoing effort to convince the world that the people are happy under their rule, and the US-led sanctions were fully responsible for their situation.
Exclusive DailyMail.com photos show hundreds of young recruits from some of Cuba’s poorest areas being busted away from last week’s pro-government rally
The soldiers were dressed in civilian clothes as they boarded 20 Russian military trucks and drove back to the barracks
The meeting was held to send a message that Cubans were unwavering in their loyalty to the repressive communist government
Cuban troops in plain clothes are seen in the back of a military truck after the pro-government rally
The great deception was part of Cuba’s ongoing effort to convince the world that the people are happy under the communist regime
Undercover soldiers and various Communist Party officials dutifully cheered President Miguel Diaz-Canel’s every word and waved their Cuban flags in support
President Diaz-Canel said the US-led sanctions were fully responsible for their situation on the island
That was the message the president brought home at the meeting in the chic Vedado area of Havana on the famous Malecon coast, which faces Key West, just 90 miles to the north.
The government admitted some shortcomings, but blamed the protests mainly on US sanctions.
President Diaz-Canel, who also heads the Communist Party, blamed US-funded “counter-revolutionaries” for the problems and told the crowd that Cuba’s “enemy has once again plunged into destroying sacred unity and tranquility of the citizens’.
He said it was no small matter to organize a rally as the country saw an increasing number of COVID cases: “We have gathered you to once again denounce the blockade, the aggression and the terror.”
The undercover soldiers and various Communist Party officials dutifully cheered every word and waved their Cuban flags in support.
But the truth, as we found out, as we spoke to ordinary people – some too afraid to be identified, others defiantly pushing for name – is that the problems of this beautiful Caribbean island run much deeper.
Almost all of them had one thing in common: a burning desire to somehow leave the shore for a new life elsewhere.
The protests across Cuba earlier this month — and the brutal way they were crushed — shocked the world.
The combination of chronic food shortages, rampant inflation and rising Covid infection rates sparked demonstrations and riots in virtually every town and city. The elite police units known as the “black berets” injured dozens of people, killing one man and arresting more than 300, with or without charges.
Never since the revolution that brought Fidel Castro to power in 1959 has such widespread violence and dissension been seen on the streets of Havana and the 780 mile long island nation.
The meeting was attended by former President Raul Castro (right) and his successor, Miguel Diaz-Canel (left)
A woman holds a portrait of Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel during the ‘revolutionary reaffirmation’ demonstration in Havana last week
The crowd was largely filled with government troops. These exclusive photos were taken from a hotel where DailyMail.com undercover journalists spent a mandatory six-day Covid quarantine
President Diaz-Canel, who also heads the Communist Party, blamed US-funded “counter-revolutionaries” for the problems and told the crowd that Cuba’s “enemy has once again plunged into destroying sacred unity and rest of the citizen
DailyMail.com entered the country posing as tourists and toured the capital’s crumbling colonial streets, where soldiers and black berets stood guard on almost every corner. Stores had long lines of people outside in the 95-degree heat, desperate for medicine or food, but the shelves were mostly empty.
But while the people struggle to eat, the government is prioritizing growing food for export and bringing in hard currency from the tourist market. A shiny white new hotel called the Paseo del Prada is in a prime location on the Malecon, with not a single guest in the $300-per-night rooms.
Three huge cruise ship terminals grace the port of Havana — one complete, the other still under construction — but no ships or tourists have docked since 2019, when President Trump banned U.S. ships from visiting Cuba at night.
Trump’s crackdown on Cuba followed the Obama administration’s easing of the decades-old embargo, which led to a short-lived surge in U.S. tourism after 2016.
President Biden has been an outspoken critic of the Cuban regime’s handling of this month’s protests and has so far shown little sign of easing the embargo.
Inland from the harbour, another new hotel called the Telegraph is set to catch the pink pound and will serve mainly LGBTQ+ guests from the west, with its staff reflecting its customers. But that too is empty.