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President Biden voiced his support for anti-government protesters in Cuba, saying the United States “stands firmly” with them and their “clarion call for freedom and relief” from the “decades of repression and economic suffering to which they have been subjected by Cuba’s authoritarian regime.”
On Sunday, thousands of people marched in Havana and other cities across Cuba, decrying food and medicine shortages, high prices for necessities, and the surge in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations. Biden told reporters on Monday that Cuba has not seen “anything like these protests in a long, long time if, quite frankly, ever. The U.S. stands firmly with the people of Cuba as they assert their universal rights. And we call on the government of Cuba to refrain from violence in their attempt to silence the voices of the people of Cuba.”
There have been internet outages in Cuba since Sunday, making it difficult for people to share videos of the protests. Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel on Sunday accused the “Cuban-American mafia” of encouraging the demonstrations, and previously blamed his country’s economic crisis on sanctions imposed by the U.S. during the Trump administration and trade restrictions. During a televised address on Monday, he declared that this “policy of economic suffocation” aims to “provoke social unrest” in Cuba.