- BBC News World
Cuba experienced the largest anti-government protests in decades this Sunday.
For the first time in more than 60 years, thousands of people took to the streets in some twenty towns and cities across the island shouting “freedom” and “down with the dictatorship.”
Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel said in a televised message on Monday that the protests were a provocation by the United States to destabilize the country.
Díaz-Canel assured that the US has carried out “a policy of economic suffocation” in order to “provoke social outbreaks, misunderstandings and dissatisfaction” on the island.
The protests this Sunday on the island seem to be the result of an accumulated exhaustion of the population that has increased in recent months amid one of the greatest economic and health crises that Cuba has experienced since the so-called “special period” ( the crisis in the early 1990s after the collapse of the Soviet Union).
BBC Mundo contacted the International Press Center to request an interview with the Cuban authorities and find out their position, but did not receive an immediate response.
Several world leaders reacted to the protests, some condemning the government’s actions and supporting the claim of Cuban citizens.
US President Joe Biden said his country stands with the Cuban people in their demand for freedom.
“We join the Cuban people and their clamorous call for freedom and relief from the tragic clutches of the pandemic and the decades of repression and economic suffering to which it has been subjected by Cuba’s authoritarian regime, “Biden said in a statement.
“The United States asks the Cuban regime to listen to its people and serve their needs in this vital moment instead of enriching itself,” he added.
The president of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, supported the claim of the Cubans and called for a peaceful solution to be found, while demanding the end of the United States embargo on the island.
“I want to express my solidarity with the Cuban people, I believe that a way out should be sought through dialogue, without the use of force, without confrontation, without violence,” López Obrador said in his usual morning conference.
And he added: “The first thing that should be done is suspend the blockade of Cuba, as most of the countries of the world are requesting “.
The Russian government asked its Cuban counterpart to take legal “necessary measures” to quell the protests.
“We are convinced that the Cuban authorities take all the necessary measures to restore public order in the interest of the citizens of the country, within the framework of the Constitution and current legislation, “said the spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zajarova.
He also pointed out that Russia considers “inadmissible external interference in the internal affairs of this sovereign State or any other destructive action that encourages the destabilization of the situation on the island.”
The head of European Union diplomacy, Josep Borrell, affirmed that Cubans have the right to protest and asked the Díaz-Canel government to listen to citizens.
“It has been a protest to show discontent on a scale that we have not seen since 1994,” Borrell told reporters after a meeting of EU foreign ministers.
I want to highlight “the right of the Cuban people to express their opinions peacefully, and I want to ask the government to listen to these protests of discomfort.”
OEA and CIDH
The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), Luis Almagro, on Monday condemned Cuba’s “dictatorial regime” for “call civilians to repress” protesters and promote confrontation in protests.
For its part, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) denounced in several messages on Twitter that it received information about the “use of force, arrests, attacks on protesters and journalists, as well as cuts to the Internet signal.”
He also pointed out that the protests were called “due to the shortage of food and medicine and the lack of guarantees for freedom of expression and plural participation on matters of public interest.”
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.