Rare protests have broken out in Cuba over the weekend, calling for freedom from their tyrannical government. This is the first mass anti-government protest in the country in decades.
Cuba’s communist leadership has declared that the protests are the United States fault, blaming the tighter blockage imposted by former President Donald Trump and still being enforced by President Joe Biden.
However, the people are protesting the power outages, food shortages, and lack of basic necessities that are being withheld from them by their own government.
Breaking News: Thousands of Cubans on Sunday protested power outages, food shortages and a lack of medicine — an astonishing act of defiance against a government known for quashing dissent. President Biden called the protests a "clarion call for freedom." https://t.co/GpjTBga9y7 pic.twitter.com/DUAE6WeFuS
— The New York Times (@nytimes) July 12, 2021
The discontent is due to “economic asphyxiation” as energy shortfalls force the government to slow economic output and resort to blackouts, President Miguel Diaz-Canel said Monday, at a press conference. He also blamed surging COVID-19 on the island and “Miami’s conservative Cuban-American mafia” for fueling the unrest.
During the protests on Sunday, there were outbreaks of looting and a police car was flipped over, he said. Energy supplies were hit by Trump’s imposition of a stricter embargo in 2017, which has been continued by President Joe Biden, Diaz-Canel said.
Images on social media showed chanting crowds in Havana, the provincial town of San Antonio de los Banos and elsewhere. Large mobilizations against the regime are rare on the tightly-controlled island, which strictly curbs dissent.
The pandemic caused a real blow to Cuba’s tourism, which caused a major dip in revenue. The people there are struggling financially in addition to being under the thumb of their dictator.
Diaz-Canel did note that there are “legitimate” reasons for Cubans to be dissatisfied, but he is still blaming U.S. for causing an “unconventional war,” like he claims led to protests in Venezuela.
Surprisingly, Biden is in support of the protestors for “bravely asserting fundamental and universal rights.”
“We stand with the Cuban people and their clarion call for freedom and relief from the tragic grip of the pandemic and from the decades of repression and economic suffering to which they have been subjected by Cuba’s authoritarian regime,” he said.
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