Thousands of Cubans took the streets on Sunday to call on the country’s government to be dissolved and for more freedoms amid a new outbreak of COVID-19 infections.
Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel, the head of the country’s Communist Party, made it clear that he intends to make quick work of these anti-government protesters. The BBC reported that Diaz-Canel addressed the country in a TV appearance and struck a defiant tone.
“The order to fight has been given—into the street, revolutionaries!” he said.
Al Jazeera reported that protesters in the town of San Antonio de los Banos were young and hurled insults at the president. They shouted that they are not afraid.
CNN reported that police used tear gas to disperse protesters and arrests were made. Video reportedly emerged online that showed some protesters being beaten by police.
The country’s economy has contracted 11 percent in 2020 according to official data, its worse decline since 1993. The Cuban governments said the harsh sanctions and embargoes imposed upon it by the United States has caused the economic hardship.
WSWS.org reports that imports to the island have fallen 40 percent, leading to pervasive shortages and widespread anger over the hours-long daily queuing that has become necessary to obtain basic commodities.
“This is the day,” one protester told the BBC. “We can’t take it anymore. There is no food, there is no medicine, there is no freedom. They do not let us live. We are already tired.”
There was another video that showed a woman in the western part of the country shouting from her window, “The people are dying of hunger! Our children are dying of hunger!”
Jake Sullivan, President Biden’s national security adviser, called on the country to allow “freedom of expression and assembly.” He said the U.S. “would strongly condemn any violence or targeting of peaceful protesters who are exercising their universal rights.”
Bruno Rodriguez, Cuba’s minister of foreign affairs, said Sullivan has no right to speak on the matter.
“His government has allocated hundreds of millions of dollars to promote subversion in our country & implements a genocidal blockade, which is the main cause of economic scarcities,” he tweeted.
The BBC reported that the protesters shouted “Freedom” and “Down with Communism,” which is illegal in the country and could result in a jail sentence.
The New York Times reported that video emerged online that showed protesters overturning a police car in a Cuban city about 90 miles east of Havana. The paper said there was another video that showed looting at government-run stores that “sell wildly overpriced items in currencies most Cubans do not possess.”
Carolina Barrero, a Cuban activist, told The Times that the protest on Sunday was the biggest since 1959, when Fidel Castro took control of the country.
“What has happened is enormous,” she said.
Biden on Monday said the U.S. stands with the Cuban people and “their clarion call for freedom and relief from the tragic grip of the pandemic and from the decades of repression and economic suffering to which they have been subjected by Cuba’s authoritarian regime.”
TOP TREND FOR 2021: “YOUTH REVOLUTION”: As we had forecast in December 2020, in 2021, the uprisings and revolutions that were sweeping the world before the COVID War will accelerate dramatically, as billions of people sink deeper into economic despair.
In response, governments will again attempt to use the COVID War as a “legal” justification to prohibit protests. But, as Gerald Celente says, “When people lose everything and have nothing left to lose, they lose it.” And lose it, they will. Thus, we maintain our forecast that protests will escalate into civil wars, and civil wars will spread to regional wars.