In Cuba, violence is reported on Facebook

In Cuba, violence is reported on Facebook

Published on 14 May 2024

Increase in violent crime on the island is registered on social media

Until 2019, Cuba had reported some of the lowest violent crime rates in the Western Hemisphere, however, this is changing. Not only is there an increase in violence, documented through independent journalism, but this violence is becoming more lethal and more misogynistic.

 

Faced with this reality and the lack of information, the civilian population of Cuba is using social networks to inform and denounce the violence on the island. More than 10 Facebook groups have been created under this theme, some with more than 20 thousand members. In this way, Cubans themselves are in charge of evading government censorship and talking about the issue in digital spaces. 

 

Violent Cuba?

 

It is not only femicides. In Cuba, reports of other forms of lethal violence, mainly motivated by robbery, are growing on social networks, media and independent organizations on the island. In fact, the official rate of homicides of men shows the same increasing pattern as the murders of women. 

 

Research presented by CubaNet, Cubalex and Data Crítica reveals that almost half (47%) of the 400 independently recorded violent crimes in 2023 were murders. Violence in Cuba not only exists, but lethal violence is prevalent.

 

“The slander and the attempt to sow distrust in the forces of law and order crash every minute with every heroic or altruistic action that day and night starring members of the National Revolutionary Police and other combatants,” Granma wrote in a recent publication in response to the growing independent record of crimes.

 

But in the same text, the regime indicates that only in the first half of 2023, 11,500 actions against crime by State officials were registered, that is to say that there were at least 11,500 crimes. Of this total, official figures indicate that 8.5% were violent.

 

Women: victims of violence 

 

Several NGOs denounce that the Cuban police, who arrest dissidents just for shouting slogans, have not attended to complaints of gender violence that later result in femicides. The analysis of official figures of murders of women reveals that in October 2023, a growing trend of lethal violence against women on the island was consolidated.

 

From 2019, the year the independent observatories were founded, until March 5, 2024, 218 femicides have been underreported on the island. The official rate of intentional murders of women, calculated from the statistics of the Cuban Ministry of Health, shows that what in 2021 seemed an anomaly (a sudden growth in murders of women), was consolidated by the end of 2023 as a trend. 

 

What the regime wants to hide online

 

During March 8, 2024, International Women’s Day, the regime sought to make invisible on social media the harsh reality of increasing femicides and violence in Cuba. 

 

With the hashtag #PorUn26EnEl24 (2,917 tweets), #CubaViveYVence (2,610 tweets) and #XICongresoFMC (24,600 tweets) ideas in support of women were promoted, as part of the celebration of the anniversary and the last day of the XI Congress of the Federation of Cuban Women (FMC) organized by the ruling party.

 

 

In addition, the FMC then promoted the hashtag #BetterWithoutBlockade (7,597 tweets) on March 12 promoting messages linked to this group’s struggle in the face of the “challenges” “imposed by the economic, commercial and financial blockade” of the U.S. Government with more than 7,597 tweets.

 

At the end of 2023, Cuban authorities acknowledged that at least 117 femicides were perpetrated between January and October 2023 alone. According to official figures, at least 70 infants were orphaned by the murder of their mothers in those months of 2023.

 

Civil society raises its digital voice 

 

Cuban civil society is not indifferent to the issue of violence. In fact, it seeks its own resources to be able to inform and report the acts of violence on the island that are not covered by the official media. 

 

Facebook groups have become the ideal scenario to share what is happening on the island. Groups such as Denunciando los Crímenes de Cuba, Denuncias desde Cuba, Lecciones de violencia en to Cuba and Cuba Denuncia, are just some of the public spaces created and fed, collectively, by more than a thousand members. 

 

One of the largest is “Denouncing Cuba’s Crimes”, created on February 11, 2023 and which has 22.5 thousand members. 

“This group has been created due to the increase of violence, robberies, forced disappearances and murders in Cuba. The objective, first of all, is to raise awareness among the population, to provide immediate support if the case requires it and to create a space for victims or relatives to share their experiences”, states the group’s description.

 

 

However, it is not only Facebook groups that civil society uses to report acts of violence, from ProBox we monitor the conversation around terms such as: “violence Cuba”, “denunciations Cuba”, “crimes Cuba”, “femicides Cuba”, “murder of women Cuba”, “#VictimsofCubanCommunism”, “#ViolenceInCuba”, and “#FeminicidesCuba”. Through this search, 767 mentions were obtained between March 24 and April 24, highlighting April 17 as the peak of this conversation with 61 mentions registered. 

 

This conversation was mainly concentrated on Facebook, where 53.46% of the registered mentions were found (410 mentions), followed by X with 38.59% (296 mentions), Instagram with 7.56% (58 mentions), and lastly TikTok with 0.39% of the registered mentions (3 mentions).

 

 

Likewise, in the search performed by ProBox, words such as gender violence (45 mentions), crimes against humanity (20 mentions), crimes against humanity (19 mentions), Cuba denounces (18 mentions), male violence (13 mentions), among others, stand out. In addition, the use of hashtags such as #Cuba (118 mentions), #SOSCuba (17 mentions), and #VíctimasDelComunismoCubano (10 mentions) stand out.

 

 

Another important fact is that the three main accounts that made the largest number of mentions on the subject were found on Facebook and are associated with independent media of the island, such as Diario de Cuba (26 mentions), which generated about 5,165,940 impressions. In second place, the CubaNet Noticias account (16 mentions) with about 14,498,032 impressions. Lastly, the ADN Cuba account was registered with 15 mentions on the subject that generated about 14,153,070 impressions.

 

Civil society, organizations and independent media in Cuba expose the worrying panorama of violence that the nation is going through, permeating every social sphere. This concern is growing, as the authorities and the regime’s narrative only choose to ignore it.

 

For more information on electoral manipulation of authoritarian regimes you can follow us on our social media as @ProBoxVE. 

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