Some US politicians speak out in favor of Cuba protesters, as the State Department demands “quiet”
Thousands of people took to the streets in the largest on Sundayagainst Cuba’s communist government for decades. The demonstrations took place amid one of the worst economic crises the country has faced and as it struggles to tackle rising COVID-19 cases.
Cuba continues to suffer from the effects of a decade-long US trade embargo and more targeted sanctions from the Trump administration, which the Biden administration has left in place. Julie Chung., State Department chief officer tweeted Support for the protesters on Sunday, but their initial message, suggesting that the anger in Cuba was just “over rising COVID cases / deaths,” drew a quick reprimand from Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio, a prominent voice in the large, politically powerful Cuban-American community in the US
Rubio described Chung’s first tweet as “ridiculous”. saying The protests in Cuba “are not just about COVID” adding a blow to President Biden: “It is now 10:15 pm and still nothing from @JoeBiden.”
GOP Senators Ted Cruz and Mitt Romney also expressed their support for the protests on Monday morning. In a statement, Cruz said: “The American people stand directly with the men and women of Cuba and their noble struggle for freedom, and the Biden government must make this clear and strong to the world – immediately.”
“Although miles and sea separate us from the brave Cubans who demonstrate for freedom, we stand by their side with admiration and hope,” said Romney said on twitter.
Many in the Cuban American and wider Latin American communities want the White House to maintain the tough stance taken by Mr. Biden’s predecessor.
Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel appeared on television condemning the demonstrations – and calling on government supporters to respond by calling for a “fight” on the streets against what he called provocateurs. Chung tweeted again, saying the US government was “deeply concerned about ‘calls to fight’ in Cuba”.
“We stand by the Cuban people’s right to peaceful assembly,” said Chung. “We call for calm and condemn all violence.”
Many members of the Miami Cuban-American community and other supporters took to the streets in South Florida on Sunday to show solidarity with Cuban anti-government protesters.
Hundreds held up Cuban and US flags at Versailles Restaurant in Miami’s Little Havana on Sunday afternoon, causing Miami police to close a major thoroughfare to vehicle traffic for several hours “in support of a demonstration and for the safety of all participants to guarantee”.
The Miami demonstrations were supported by local leaders, including the Mayor of Miami-Dade, Rubio, and congressional officials from multiple counties.
“At this historic moment we stand in the fight for freedom, dignity and basic human rights united with the Cuban people on the island and in our entire community,” said the Mayor of Miami-Dade, Daniella Levine Cava, in a tweet. “May your courageous actions bring about real change and bring us closer to the dream of a free Cuba.”
In addition to criticizing the Biden government’s reaction, Rubio used his Twitter account to share pictures and videos of the protests in Cuba.
“Street protests with chants of #NoTenemosMiedo (We are not afraid) are spontaneously breaking out in several cities in Cuba,” he said said. “The frustration over the incompetence, greed and repression of the dictatorships is growing rapidly.”
The Florida Democrats’ collective report belittled the Cuban government as “nothing more than a failed tyranny” while expressing its support for the anti-government demonstrators: “We stand by the Cuban people who are speaking out in protest against a repressive government who refuses to help his people. “
In a joint statement, US Representatives Mario Diaz-Balart, Carlos Gimenez and Maria Elvira Salazar, all Republicans, shared their support for the protesters in Cuba.
“The humanitarian crisis that Cuba is currently facing is another symptom of the incompetence and absolute cruelty of Cuban tyranny,” they wrote. “We know what freedom means for the Cuban people, and now as the regime uses brutal force against the people who are demonstrating peacefully in the streets, the world has an obligation to stand by the brave Cuban people.”
The Cuban President Díaz-Canel, like his predecessors for decades before him, is making the economic malaise of Cuba back on the US trade restrictions and sanctions of the former President Donald Trump. In his remarks on Sunday, he accused American officials and others in the United States of stirring up unrest in his small Caribbean nation by spreading anti-government propaganda.