Cubans take to streets in rare protests over lack of freedoms and worsening economy

1 week ago 2
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Havana, Cuba (CNN)Thousands of Cubans took to the streets connected Sunday to protestation a deficiency of nutrient and medicine arsenic the state undergoes a sedate economical situation aggravated by the Covid-19 pandemic and US sanctions.

Demonstrators complained astir a deficiency of state and the worsening economical concern during the uncommon protests, according to radical who spoke to CNN and videos from aggregate cities, including superior Havana.

Many chanted for "freedom" and called for President Miguel Díaz-Canel to measurement down.

    Multiple protesters were arrested by police, who utilized teardrop state to interruption up immoderate demonstrations. In Havana, a CNN squad witnessed demonstrators being forcibly arrested and thrown into the backmost of vans by constabulary officers. There were besides convulsive clashes, wherever protesters turned implicit a constabulary car and threw rocks astatine officers.

      In a nationally televised address, President Díaz-Canel said US commercialized sanctions had created economical misery connected the communist-run island.

      Díaz-Canel did not connection the protesters immoderate concessions successful his speech, but alternatively urged his supporters to physically face them. "The bid to combat has been given," helium said astatine the extremity of his appearance, "Revolutionaries request to beryllium connected the streets."

      In the metropolis of San Antonio de los Baños, conscionable extracurricular Havana province, hundreds of radical defied a dense constabulary beingness to aerial their complaints.

      Cubans are risking everything to participate  the US

      One nonmigratory who did not privation to beryllium identified told CNN that residents had been enduring powerfulness outages for a week and that had "detonated" the increasing outrage.

      Social media platforms are being restricted successful Cuba, according to net show NetBlocks.

      NetBlocks tweeted connected Monday that "Social media and messaging platforms restricted successful #Cuba from Monday connected state-run net supplier ETECSA; real-time web information corroborate reports of net disruptions amid widening anti-government protests; incidental ongoing #CubaSOS."

      The NetBlocks website said its metrics showed that WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram and immoderate Telegram servers were being disrupted.

      Videos uploaded to societal media showed however the spontaneous protestation question has gained momentum, with streams appearing of different protests successful a fistful of cities and towns crossed the island.

      In immoderate of the videos, radical shouted they "weren't afraid" oregon that they wanted liberty oregon entree to coronavirus vaccines.

      President Díaz-Canel made an unplanned halt successful San Antonio de los Baños connected Sunday aft constabulary had cleared protesters, portion Cuban authorities officials blamed the protests connected "salaried agents" connected Twitter.

      Calls for restraint

      On Monday, US President Joe Biden called connected the Diàz-Canel authorities to "hear their radical and service their needs."

      "We basal with the Cuban radical and their clarion telephone for state and alleviation from the tragic grip of the pandemic and from the decades of repression and economical suffering to which they person been subjected by Cuba's authoritarian regime," Biden said successful a statement.

      White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan besides tweeted connected Sunday night, "the U.S. supports state of look and assembly crossed Cuba, and would powerfully condemn immoderate unit oregon targeting of peaceful protesters who are exercising their cosmopolitan rights."

      Meet the caller   person  of Cuba's Communist Party

      Other US officials besides urged for restraint, saying Cubans had the close to protest. "We are profoundly acrophobic by "calls to combat" successful #Cuba. We basal by the Cuban people's close for peaceful assembly. We telephone for calm and condemn immoderate violence," Julie Chung, acting adjunct caput for the Department of State's Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, tweeted Sunday.

      "For decades, Cuba's dictatorship has utilized unit and repression to soundlessness its people, alternatively than licence the escaped workout of ideology and their basal societal rights," Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez said successful a statement.

      "This indispensable end. The world's eyes are connected Cuba contiguous and the dictatorship indispensable recognize we volition not tolerate the usage of brute unit to soundlessness the aspirations of the Cuban people," helium added.

      Other satellite leaders person besides weighed in, with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro criticizing socialist regimes connected the continent. People went connected the streets to inquire for "freedom," and received "rubber bullets, beatings, and prison," helium said.

      Strained US-Cuba relations

      But statements from US leaders person prompted aggravated disapproval from Cuban authorities, who reason that US sanctions are the origin of Cuba's ailing economy.

      US-Cuban relations are astatine their lowest constituent successful years. The Trump medication enacted immoderate of the toughest economical measures against Cuba successful decades, and truthful far, the Biden medication seems reluctant to assistance them.

      The already struggling Cuban system has been deed hard arsenic tourism and bully imports person dropped steeply during the pandemic. On Sunday, Cuban wellness officials reported a grounds single-day summation for caller Covid-19 cases and deaths.

      President Diàz-Canel criticized the protests, calling demonstrators vandals who "broke into the stores and stole [many] items." He pointed to "restrictive measures" by the Trump medication that caused "a precise unsmooth play of time, wherever we were going to person galore difficulties and economical scarcities."

      Cuba's Minister of Foreign Affairs Bruno Rodriguez besides criticized Sullivan's connection connected Monday, saying helium had "no governmental oregon motivation authorization to talk astir Cuba."

      "His authorities has allocated hundreds of millions of dollars to beforehand subversion successful our state & implements a genocidal blockade, which is the main origin of economical scarcities," Rodriguez added successful a tweet.

      Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador besides called connected the US to suspend their Cuba commercialized embargo arsenic a humanitarian gesture. "No state successful the satellite should beryllium fenced in, blockaded -- that's the other of quality rights," helium said.

      When asked wherefore Biden had not yet reversed Trump's policies towards Cuba, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the US had continued to supply humanitarian assistance and aesculapian supplies -- but added, "I person thing to preview for you successful presumption of a alteration of policy."

        In a connection connected Sunday, US Secretary of State Tony Blinken pushed backmost against criticisms from the Cuban government, saying "it would beryllium a grievous mistake for the Cuban authorities to construe what is happening successful dozens of towns and cities crossed the land arsenic the effect oregon merchandise of thing the United States has done."

        "That is what we are proceeding and seeing successful Cuba, and that is simply a reflection of the Cuban people, not of the United States oregon immoderate different extracurricular actor," helium said.

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