President Joe Biden said the United States stands with Cuba as thousands of Cubans rally against the government amid a growing economic crisis, increased repression against political opponents and a surge in Covid-19 cases that has strained the country’s healthcare system.
“The Cuban people are bravely asserting fundamental and universal rights. Those rights, including the right of peaceful protest and the right to freely determine their own future, must be respected,” Biden said in a statement. “The United States calls on the Cuban regime to hear their people and serve their needs at this vital moment rather than enriching themselves.”
Biden added that the United States stands “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.”
We stand with the Cuban people as they bravely assert their fundamental and universal rights, and as they all call for freedom and relief from the tragic grip of the pandemic and from the decades of repression and economic suffering. https://t.co/KGY3MFfsw0
— President Biden (@POTUS) July 12, 2021
Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel was defiant and blamed the civil unrest on the U.S. embargo against Cuba, sanctions which he and his administration say have contributed to power outages and limited access to food and medical supplies.
“What is their origin, what is their cause? It is the blockade,” he said when asked why citizens are protesting.
Alan is a writer, editor, and news junkie based in New York.