What is San Isidro Movement?

San Isidro Movement (MSI) is the ongoing protest against the authoritarian regime in Cuba. Cuba, a Caribbean country, has been under the communist regime for more than 60 years. The San Isidro Movement started in 2018 in response to the state’s censorship of artistic works via the Decree 349. The decree enables the culture ministry to censure any cultural activity that it doesn’t approve of.

About the Movement

The movement in Cuba began in September 2018 against the state censorship of artistic works. The censorship was brought in by Decree 349. In order to protest against the decree, poets, artists, journalists gathered in San Isidro.

Why San Isidro?

San Isidro is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is Havana’s poorest but most culturally active ward.

How did the movement grow?

In 2015, Cuba signed an agreement with the USA which gave the MSI protestors more internet freedom. The protestors managed to amplify and connect their messages over the internet. The Government in Cuba controls all modes of communication and no political opposition is permitted. Thus, the internet freedom helped the movement to reach different regions.

Role of USA

On November 9, 2020, a member of MSI, Afro-Cubo rapper Denis Solis was arrested. He was sentenced to eight months of prison for contempt. A hunger strike began in Cuba following his arrest. The United States interfered openly supporting MSI and urging to release the rapper. Following this, Czech republic, Netherlands and several human rights groups like Amnesty International also voiced concerns.

Current Scenario

The Cuban Government continues to criticise MSI calling it “Yankee Imperialism” despite of the popularity of the movement all over the world.

Havana

It is the capital city of Cuba. Also, it is the largest province, major port and a leading commercial centre in the country. It is the fourth largest metropolitan city in the Caribbean region.

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