Cuba’s Communist regime is trying to blame the US for the huge uprising against its totalitarian government — as it also calls on “revolutionaries” to take to the streets and “fight” any anti-government protesters.
On Sunday, thousands took to the streets in cities and towns across the long-suffering nation, screaming “Freedom” and “Enough” — as well as anti-government slogans and demands for the removal of President Miguel Díaz-Canel.
The dictatorship responded with a huge police presence, dispatching special forces jeeps with machine guns mounted on the back.
Dozens of demonstrators were arrested in the country’s capital, Havana.
There were also clashes with government supporters, who were blamed for assaulting journalists as Cuban authorities shut down internet service throughout the afternoon to stop news getting out.
Despite the protesters’ clear calls of “Down with the dictatorship” and “Down with Díaz-Canel,” the Cuban leader blamed the uprising on “the Cuban-American mafia” and “influencers and YouTubers.”
“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,” he said in an ominous warning.
Meanwhile, hundreds also took to the streets in support in Miami, Florida, where Mayor Francis Suarez said that “Cubans are worthy and ready to rule themselves without tyranny.”
“It can end today and it must end today,” he said, according to NBC-6.
“The implications of this moment can mean freedom for millions of people in the hemisphere, from Nicaraguans and Venezuelans and so many more,” he said of the uprising against Communist dictatorships.
An official in the Biden administration tweeted support for Sunday’s demonstrations.
“Peaceful protests are growing in #Cuba as the Cuban people exercise their right to peaceful assembly to express concern about rising COVID cases/deaths & medicine shortages,” tweeted Julie Chung, acting assistant secretary for state for Western Hemisphere affairs.
“We commend the numerous efforts of the Cuban people mobilizing donations to help neighbors in need,” Chung said.
US national security adviser Jake Sullivan also said that “the US supports freedom of expression and assembly across Cuba, and would strongly condemn any violence or targeting of peaceful protesters who are exercising their universal rights.”
The message was echoed by numerous US lawmakers.
“It’s time for the Cuban regime to step down and let Democracy flourish in Cuba,” tweeted Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.).
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said he will ask President Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken to urge members of the Cuban military to stand with the people of Cuba.
“The incompetent communist party of #Cuba cannot feed or protect the people from the virus,” he tweeted.
“Now those in the military must defend the people not the communist party,” he tweeted.
I am asking @POTUS @SecBlinken 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.
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) July 11, 2021
Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar (R-Fla.), who represents the Miami area, said the “humanitarian crisis Cuba faces right now is yet another symptom of the incompetence and absolute cruelty of the Cuban tyranny.”
“The world has the obligation to stand with the brave Cuban people,” Salazar said in a statement.
Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ), chairman of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, also urged the US to “stand in solidarity with the brave people of Cuba that are risking their lives today for change in their country and a future of Patria y Vida.”
Cuba’s director-general for US affairs, Carlos F. de Cossio, lashed out at the US support of the uprising.
“US State Department and its officials, involved to their necks in promoting social and political instability in #Cuba, should avoid expressing hypocritical concern for a situation they have been betting on,” de Cossio tweeted.
“Cuba is and will continue to be a peaceful country, contrary to the US.”
The demonstrations — the biggest anti-government protests on the Communist-run island in decades — were largely stoked by Cuba’s worst economic crisis since the fall of the Soviet Union, its old ally, 30 years ago.
The government has blamed it on US sanctions and the pandemic, but detractors cite incompetence and a Soviet-style one-party system.
“We are going through really difficult times,” said Miranda Lazara, 53, a dance teacher, who joined the thousands of protesters who marched through Havana. “We need a change of system.”