Biden backs Cuba's 'clarion call for freedom' from 'the grip of the pandemic and decades of repression': President urges communist regime to 'hear' the protesters rather than 'enrich themselves' during extraordinary demonstrations

 President Joe Biden said Monday that he stands with the Cuban people and 'their clarion call for freedom' amid protests that brought thousands to the streets from Havana to Santiago on Sunday. 

'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,' Biden said.  

He said the protests represented the Cuban people '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,' the president continued. 

'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. 

Biden's statement comes after Republicans tweeted in support of the Cuban protesters and ridiculed a State Department official for saying the demonstrations were inspired by a spike in COVID-19 cases.  

The protests on Sunday represented the the biggest anti-government demonstrations on the Communist-run island in decades. 

The images of protests in Cuba that have gone viral on social media prompted officials in the United States to call for an American-led intervention to topple the ruling government in Havana. 

Cubans marched on Havana's Malecon promenade and elsewhere on the island to protest food shortages and soaring inflation, which some economists believe could hit 900 percent this year.

reto the WHite House

President Joe Biden is photographed returning to the White House Sunday night. He sent out a statement backing the protests in Cuba Monday morning 

A man holds a sign saying 'Biden Help Cuba' in protests in Miami, Florida on Sunday

A man holds a sign saying 'Biden Help Cuba' in protests in Miami, Florida on Sunday 

Demonstrators gather in Miami, Florida on Sunday to protest in solidarity with the Cuban people

Demonstrators gather in Miami, Florida on Sunday to protest in solidarity with the Cuban people 

People ride a tricycle near graffiti reading 'Defending Socialism' in Havana on Monday

People ride a tricycle near graffiti reading 'Defending Socialism' in Havana on Monday 

Havana's streets were quiet on Monday after thousands took part Sunday in rare protests in Cuba chanting 'down with the dictatorship'

Havana's streets were quiet on Monday after thousands took part Sunday in rare protests in Cuba chanting 'down with the dictatorship' 

Many young people took part in the afternoon protest in the capital, which disrupted traffic until police moved in after several hours and broke up the march when a few protesters threw rocks. Special forces vehicles, with machine guns mounted on the back, were seen throughout the capital and the police presence was heavy even long after most protesters had gone home by the 9pm curfew in place due to the pandemic.

Police initially trailed behind as protesters chanted 'Freedom,' 'Enough' and 'Unite.' One motorcyclist pulled out a US flag, but it was snatched from him by others.  

Cuba is going through its worst economic crisis since the fall of the Soviet Union, along with a resurgence of coronavirus cases, as it suffers the consequences of US sanctions imposed by the Trump administration. 

It comes months after six decades of the Castro family dominating Cuban politics ended with 89-year-old Raul Castro relinquishing the country's most powerful position - that of party first secretary - to Miguel Diaz-Canel, Cuba's president. 

In an address to the country, President Diaz-Canel blamed the US for stoking anger, and said: 'We are prepared to do anything. We will be battling in the streets.' 

Earlier, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez appeared at a demonstration in the Little Havana section of Miami, where hundreds gathered outside the famous Cuban Versailles restaurant to denounce the Communist regime on the island.  


Thousands of Cubans took part in rare protests Sunday against the Communist government, marching through a town chanting 'Down with the dictatorship' and 'We want liberty'. The image above shows Cubans in Havana on Sunday

Thousands of Cubans took part in rare protests Sunday against the Communist government, marching through a town chanting 'Down with the dictatorship' and 'We want liberty'. The image above shows Cubans in Havana on Sunday

A man is arrested during a demonstration against the government of Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel in Havana on Sunday

A man is arrested during a demonstration against the government of Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel in Havana on Sunday

Security forces loyal to the government detain a protester in Havana, Cuba, on Sunday

Security forces loyal to the government detain a protester in Havana, Cuba, on Sunday

Demonstrators are seen above protesting on the streets of Havana on Sunday

Demonstrators are seen above protesting on the streets of Havana on Sunday

Hundreds of Cuban emigres gathered in the Little Havana section of Miami to stage a protest in solidarity with anti-government demonstrators on the island

Hundreds of Cuban emigres gathered in the Little Havana section of Miami to stage a protest in solidarity with anti-government demonstrators on the island

Singer Yotuel Romero addresses protesters gathered in front of the Versailles restaurant in Miami as they show support for the people in Cuba who have taken to the streets to protest

Singer Yotuel Romero addresses protesters gathered in front of the Versailles restaurant in Miami as they show support for the people in Cuba who have taken to the streets to protest

A man is arrested during a demonstration against the government of Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel in Havana on Sunday

A man is arrested during a demonstration against the government of Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel in Havana on Sunday

'Cubans are worthy and ready to rule themselves without tyranny,' Miami's mayor said on Sunday. 'It can end today and it must end today. The implications of this moment can mean freedom for millions of people in the hemisphere, from Nicaraguans and Venezuelans and so many more.'

The US State Department was criticized for a tweet on Sunday claiming that the protests in Cuba were in reaction to 'rising COVID cases'.

'Peaceful protests are growing in Cuba as the Cuban people exercise their right to peaceful assembly to express concern about rising COVID case/deaths & medicine shortage. We commend the numerous efforts of the Cuban people mobilizing donations to help neighbors,' tweeted Julie Chung, the acting assistant secretary for the department’s Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs.

Sen. Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican, was among those ridiculing the tweet, calling it 'ridiculous' and saying that Cubans 'are protesting 62 years of socialism, lies, tyranny & misery.' 

Rep. Dan Crenshaw, a Texas Republican, also smacked down the tweet. 

'No they’re chanting LIBERTAD. Stop playing cover for communists and support the Cuban people. My god. Why is that so hard for you,' Crenshaw wrote.  

House Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar, a Republican who represents the Miami area, said the protests were the 'beginning of the end' of the Communist regime and that a 'perfect storm' presented an opportunity for the government to be toppled. 

House Rep. Ruben Gallego, a Democrat from Arizona, tweeted: 'It's time for the Cuban regime to step down and let Democracy flourish in Cuba.'

Rubio tweeted: 'I am asking [President Joe Biden] and [Secretary of State Antony Blinken] to call on members of the Cuban military to not fire on their own people.

'The incompetent communist party of #Cuba cannot feed or protect the people from the virus.

'Now those in the military must defend the people not the communist party.' 

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, also a Republican, tweeted: 'Florida supports the people of Cuba as they take to the streets against the tyrannical regime in Havana. 

'The Cuban dictatorship has repressed the people of Cuba for decades & is now trying to silence those who have the courage to speak out against its disastrous policies.'

Another prominent Republican, Gov. Kristi Noem of South Dakota, tweeted: 'The human heart wants to be free. This is as true in Cuba as it is in America. 

'I stand with my friend Senator Rubio and all Cubans looking to throw off the yoke of Communism and join the free world.'

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California tweeted: 'After decades of suffering through a communist dictatorship, the Cuban people deserve liberty. 

'I am proud to stand in solidarity with the people of Cuba who are calling out for freedom.'

House Rep. Steve Scalise, a Republican from Louisiana, tweeted: 'America stands with the people of Cuba as they fight for their freedom from a tyrannical government. 

'Socialism has failed everywhere it's been tried. We can't let America become another failed socialist experiment.'

Scalise ended the tweet with the hashtags #SOSCuba and #FreedomOverSocialism.' 

President Miguel Diaz-Canel, who also heads the Communist Party, blamed the United States for the unrest in a nationally televised speech on Sunday afternoon.

Special forces jeeps, with machine guns mounted on the back, were seen in Havana and Diaz-Canel called on supporters to confront 'provocations.'

A pro-government protester is seen during a demonstration against the government of Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel in Havana on Sunday

A pro-government protester is seen during a demonstration against the government of Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel in Havana on Sunday

Cuban police detain an anti-government demonstrator during a protest in Havana on Sunday

Cuban police detain an anti-government demonstrator during a protest in Havana on Sunday

Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel (center) walks accompanied by supporters in San Antonio de los Banos on Sunday

Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel (center) walks accompanied by supporters in San Antonio de los Banos on Sunday

Diaz-Canel called on his supporters to take to the streets as a response to the protest against his government

Diaz-Canel called on his supporters to take to the streets as a response to the protest against his government

Thousands of people gathered in downtown Havana and along parts of the seaside drive amid a heavy police presence. There were a few arrests and scuffles, but no major confrontations.

The protests broke out in San Antonio de los Banos municipality in Artemisa Province, bordering Havana, with video on social media showing hundreds of residents chanting anti-government slogans and demanding everything from coronavirus vaccines to an end to daily blackouts.

'I just walked through town looking to buy some food and there were lots of people there, some with signs, protesting,' local resident Claris Ramirez said by phone.

'They are protesting blackouts, that there is no medicine,' she added.

Diaz-Canel, who had just returned from San Antonio de los Banos, said many protesters were sincere but manipulated by US-orchestrated social media campaigns and 'mercenaries' on the ground, and warned that further 'provocations' would not be tolerated.

Diaz-Canel (center) is seen during a demonstration held by citizens in San Antonio de los Banos on Sunday

Diaz-Canel (center) is seen during a demonstration held by citizens in San Antonio de los Banos on Sunday

Plainclothes police officers detain a person during protests outside the Capitol building in Havana on Sunday

Plainclothes police officers detain a person during protests outside the Capitol building in Havana on Sunday

Cuban demonstrators face down members of the security services in Havana on Sunday

Cuban demonstrators face down members of the security services in Havana on Sunday

Thousands are seen marching in the streets of the Cuban capital on Sunday

Thousands are seen marching in the streets of the Cuban capital on Sunday

Cubans in the town of San Antonio de los Banos gather to meet with the Cuban president on Sunday

Cubans in the town of San Antonio de los Banos gather to meet with the Cuban president on Sunday

A man is arrested during a demonstration against the government of Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel in Havana on Sunday

A man is arrested during a demonstration against the government of Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel in Havana on Sunday

Cubans under the effects of tear gas take part in a demonstration against the government of Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel in front of Havana's Capitol

Cubans under the effects of tear gas take part in a demonstration against the government of Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel in front of Havana's Capitol

There were protests later on Sunday hundreds of miles to the east in Palma Soriano, Santiago de Cuba, where social media video showed hundreds marching through the streets, again confirmed by a local resident.

'They are protesting the crisis, that there is no food or medicine, that you have to buy everything at the foreign currency stores, and on and on the list goes,' Claudia Perez said.

'We are calling on all the revolutionaries in the country, all the Communists, to hit the streets wherever there is an effort to produce these provocations,' Diaz-Canel said in his broadcast remarks.

The Communist-run country has been experiencing a worsening economic crisis for two years, which the government blames mainly on US sanctions and the pandemic, while its detractors cite incompetence and a Soviet-style one-party system. 

The demonstration in Havana grew to a few thousand in the vicinity of Galeano Avenue and the marchers pressed on despite a few charges by police officers and tear gas barrages. 

People standing on many balconies along the central artery in the Centro Habana neighborhood applauded the protesters passing by. Others joined in the march. 

Hundreds of Cuban emigres gathered in the Little Havana section of Miami to stage a protest in solidarity with anti-government demonstrators on the island

Hundreds of Cuban emigres gathered in the Little Havana section of Miami to stage a protest in solidarity with anti-government demonstrators on the island

Several of the protesters waved Cuban and American flags as well as signs calling on the US to send forces to the island

Several of the protesters waved Cuban and American flags as well as signs calling on the US to send forces to the island

One demonstrator in Miami holds a Cuban flag with the words 'Anti-Communist' written on it

One demonstrator in Miami holds a Cuban flag with the words 'Anti-Communist' written on it

Cuban expats in Miami rally against the Communist government in Havana on Sunday

Cuban expats in Miami rally against the Communist government in Havana on Sunday

Cuban expats in Miami saw viral images circulating on social media showing protesters taking to the streets of Cuba on Sunday

Cuban expats in Miami saw viral images circulating on social media showing protesters taking to the streets of Cuba on Sunday

Miami Mayor Francis Suarez is seen above alongside Cuban exiles at a rally in the Little Havana section of the city on Sunday

Miami Mayor Francis Suarez is seen above alongside Cuban exiles at a rally in the Little Havana section of the city on Sunday

A protester in Miami holds a sign that reads: 'U.S. Southern Command Please help my people in Cuba'

A protester in Miami holds a sign that reads: 'U.S. Southern Command Please help my people in Cuba'

A protester holds the Cuban flag over his head during a demonstration in the Little Havana section of Miami

A protester holds the Cuban flag over his head during a demonstration in the Little Havana section of Miami

Cuban expats in South Florida wave their native country's flag during a demonstration against the Communist government on Sunday

Cuban expats in South Florida wave their native country's flag during a demonstration against the Communist government on Sunday

Jorge Lieva (center) holds a sign calling on President Joe Biden to 'help Cuba' on Sunday

Jorge Lieva (center) holds a sign calling on President Joe Biden to 'help Cuba' on Sunday

Jorge Hechavarria (center) holds a sign that reads 'SOS Cuba' during a demonstration in the Little Havana section of Miami on Sunday

Jorge Hechavarria (center) holds a sign that reads 'SOS Cuba' during a demonstration in the Little Havana section of Miami on Sunday


Although many people tried to take out their cellphones and broadcast the protest live, Cuban authorities shut down internet service throughout the afternoon.

About two-and-a-half hours into the march, some protesters pulled up cobblestones and threw them at police, at which point officers began arresting people and the marchers dispersed.

A group of government supporters also arrived in the area shouting slogans in favor of the late President Fidel Castro and the revolution. Some of them assaulted a cameraman and an AP photographer.

Díaz-Canel had been touring San Antonio de los Banos, where people protested power outages. He entered a few homes and he took questions from residents.

Afterward, though, he accused Cuban-Americans of stirring up trouble.

'As if pandemic outbreaks had not existed all over the world, the Cuban-American mafia, paying very well on social networks to influencers and Youtubers, has created a whole campaign ... and has called for demonstrations across the country,' Diaz-Canel told reporters.  

Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez echoed the president's comments. 

'President @DiazCanelB is in San Antonio de los Baños with the revolutionary people that are mobilized against the imperialist campaign and its salaried agents,' he wrote on Twitter. 

'We appreciate the international solidarity and support of Cubans living abroad #EliminatetheBlockade.' 


Biden backs Cuba's 'clarion call for freedom' from 'the grip of the pandemic and decades of repression': President urges communist regime to 'hear' the protesters rather than 'enrich themselves' during extraordinary demonstrations Biden backs Cuba's 'clarion call for freedom' from 'the grip of the pandemic and decades of repression': President urges communist regime to 'hear' the protesters rather than 'enrich themselves' during extraordinary demonstrations Reviewed by STATION GOSSIP on 08:54 Rating: 5

No comments:

Powered by Blogger.