Shortly before Havana accused Washington of “betting” on the riots, the United States vowed on Monday that it would only “condemn” Cuba’s violence in anti-government protests sweeping the country.
For decades, the communist Caribbean island has been experiencing the largest anti-government protests. Thousands of people marched on the Malecon promenade in Havana and elsewhere on the island on Sunday, demanding that President Miguel Diaz-Canel step down, chanting “freedom” and “unity” and other slogans. There are also a few pro-government protesters chanting “Fidel”, referring to Fidel Castro, the former communist head of state in Cuba.
On Sunday night, special forces jeeps with machines can be seen in the capital. Even a few hours after most demonstrators returned home after the curfew at 9pm, there were still a large number of police officers present.
The demonstrations took place against the backdrop of the country’s raging COVID-19 pandemic and the worst economic crisis since the fall of its old ally, the Soviet Union. U.S. sanctions imposed during Donald Trump’s tenure Being president further weakened the economies of Latin American countries. Cubans took to the streets of Havana and San Antonio de los Baños and Palma Soriano, complaining about food shortages and high prices during the COVID-19 crisis. Many Cubans in Miami also went out to protest the Communist government.
In a tweet earlier on Monday, Jack SullivanThe U.S. National Security Adviser said: “The U.S. supports freedom of speech and assembly throughout Cuba, and will strongly condemn any acts of violence against peaceful protesters exercising universal rights.”
Cuban Director-General of American Affairs Carlos De Cosio hits back Twitter, Writing: “[The] The U.S. State Department and its officials are involved in activities that promote social and political instability in the U.S. #Cuba, Should avoid expressing false concerns about the situation they have been betting on. Contrary to the United States, Cuba is and will continue to be a peaceful country. “
Other Biden administration officials expressed support for anti-government protests. “As the Cuban people exercise their right to peaceful assembly to express their concerns about the rising COVID cases/deaths and shortage of medicines, #Cuba has more and more peaceful protests. We commend the Cuban people for mobilizing donations to help neighbours in need Many efforts have been made,” said Julie Chung, acting assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs, on Sunday night.
Republican Florida Governor Ron DeSantis also applauded the rare anti-government protests, Because Diaz-Canel accused the United States of causing riots in a national television speech.
DeSantis wrote on Twitter: “Florida supports the Cuban people taking to the streets to oppose the dictatorship in Havana.” “The Cuban dictatorship has suppressed the Cuban people for decades and is now trying to get those who have the courage to publicly oppose its disaster. People with sex policies remain silent.”
Earlier that afternoon, Diaz-Canel accused Washington of “provoking a social uprising” in an attempt to legitimize military intervention. “We will not surrender the sovereignty or independence of the people,” he said. “There are many revolutionaries in this country who are willing to give our lives. We are willing to do anything. We will fight on the streets.”
“The order to fight has been issued. Revolutionaries need to take to the streets,” Diaz-Canel concluded, without making concessions to the protesters.
State-run media said that Diaz-Canel will speak to the country again at 9 am local time on Monday.