Biden’s administration rejects official Havana claims that Washington is behind the demonstrations
WASHINGTON — The United States has expressed support for the people of Cuba amid the largest anti-government protests in decades that shook the country.
“The United States strongly supports the people of Cuba in defending their universal rights, and we call on the Cuban government to refrain from violence in an attempt to drown out the voices of the people of Cuba,” President Joe Biden said at the White House.
The Biden administration has also rejected statements by the Cuban authorities that the United States is to blame for the popular unrest.
“I think it would be a mistake for the Cuban regime to interpret what is happening in dozens of cities across the island as the result or product of US actions,” Secretary of State Anthony Blinken told reporters at the State Department.
Earlier in the day, Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel in his address to the country said that public unrest in the country is the result of «policy of economic suppression» by the United States.
Demonstrators in Havana on Sunday chanted slogans calling for freedom and unity. The march was dispersed by the police, who made several arrests.
“The regime has mistreated generations of Cubans, denying them their freedom and forcing many, including my family, to flee under threat of murder. In the coming days, he will escalate the violence in an attempt to crush brave protesters on the streets, ”said Republican Ted Cruz, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Another prominent Republican senator, Marco Rubio, denounced Biden for paying tribute to the demonstrators the next day and for not calling the Cuban government «socialist and communist» in his statement.
House Speaker, Democrat Nancy Pelosi, supported the Cuban demonstrators, tweeting: «The call for freedom and basic rights for the people of Cuba, who took to the streets and marches, is an act of great courage.»
White House spokesman Jen Psaki was asked on Monday if events over the weekend would lead the Biden administration to prioritize policy overhaul on Cuba.
The White House is «closely following» developments in the country, Psaki said.
“We will be actively involved in this. We will try to support the people of Cuba, ”said Psaki.
In 1962, the United States imposed a trade embargo on Cuba, which was eased somewhat in 2000.