Patria y Vida: Understanding Cuba's Historic 2021 Protests

Photo Courtesy: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

In mid-July of 2021, massive and historic protests erupted across Cuba in response to Cuban citizens’ strong dissatisfaction with the government's handling of everything from basic food and medicine needs to the COVID-19 pandemic. The country’s authoritarian socialist regime leaders tried to crack down on the dissent but were confronted with equal pushback from the people, centering the world's eyes on the tiny island state, waiting for resolution after nearly 60 years of the Castro dictatorship.

To understand how Cuba reached this breaking point, it's important to review the rise of Fidel Castro and his communist rule. Here’s a basic rundown of what’s going on — and why.