Thousands Of Protesting Cubans Take To The Streets Chanting 'Freedom'
By Bill Galluccio
July 12, 2021
Rare protests erupted throughout Cuba over the weekend as thousands of people took to the streets to voice their displeasure with the Communist government.
According to CNN, many people in Cuba are fed up with the worsening economic situation and their lack of freedom under the rule of President Miguel Diaz-Canel. The country has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic and continues to deal with a third wave of new infections. The lack of tourism has gutted the economy, leaving many people struggling to find food.
Protesters chanted "we want freedom" and called for Diaz-Canel to step down.
"This moment is historic. That hasn't happened in decades. Today the Cuban people have demonstrated that they want change, and they want it now," Alexander Otaola, a Cuban-American social media influencer, and political activist, told the Miami Herald.
Diaz-Canel stoked the tensions during a televised address to the Cuban people. He blamed the current situation on U.S. trade sanctions and urged his supporters to take to the streets to "combat" the protesters.
"The order to combat has been given," he said. "Revolutionaries need to be on the streets."
There were also rallies held in support of the Cuban people in the United States. In Miami, Florida, around 5,000 people took to the streets in Little Havana in solidarity with the protesters in Cuba.
"I know my family in Cuba is struggling. People are dying. It's terrible," Miami resident Christian Guzman told WTVJ.
The Biden administration voiced support for the protesters.
"We stand 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," President JoeBiden said in a statement.