Cuban citizens took to the streets this weekend to protest against the Communist regime and their inability to provide the basic necessities as the island nation grapples with the global coronavirus pandemic.
The Biden administration responded to the uprising, issuing a statement through a low-level official who commended the protests. The official claimed Cuban citizens were fed up with the “medicine shortages amid rising COVID deaths/cases.”
This is a giant mischaracterization of the gripes Cubans have with the Communist regime. Simple put: they do not want Communism. The political system has plagued their nation for decades, and has always resulted in mass starvation, poor medical facilities, and a lack of economic growth. By placing the narrative into a COVID framework, the Biden administration does not have to risk alienating their Far-Left supporters who remain sympathetic to Communism despite it’s obvious flaws.
In Havana and cities across Cuba, people took to the streets chanting “Freedom!” and “Down with the Communist Dictatorship!” while protesting in front of Communist Party institutions. Many of the protestors were seen carrying American flags.
Still, even the liberal New York Times reported on the events accurately, saying the protests were sparked amid “growing food and medicine shortages” and to “openly condemn the current Communist regime” for the first time in 30 years. This is the largest uprising in Cuba’s history since Fidel Castro assumed power of the island nation in the late 1950s. At the time, Communist activists convinced Cubans that Castro was the answer to the corrupt regime of Miguel Diaz-Canel. A popular uprising resulted, bringing Castro to power — a move that Cubans have regretted ever since.
— Disclose.tv 🚨 (@disclosetv) July 11, 2021
— The Post Millennial (@TPostMillennial) July 11, 2021
This is deeply moving.
Watch as Cubans wave the American flag while marching against the island’s 62 year-old communist dictatorship on the streets of Havana.
— Giancarlo Sopo (@GiancarloSopo) July 11, 2021
Julie Chung, Acting Assistant Secretary in the State Department took to Twitter in an attempt to explain the protests:
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. We commend the numerous efforts of the Cuban people mobilizing donations to help neighbors in need.
— Julie Chung (@WHAAsstSecty) July 11, 2021
The administration’s statement ignored democracy and freedom altogether.
The Cuban Constitution guarantees the right for Cubans to protest peacefully, but like many of the most of the rights, they only exist in theory. Cubans do not have the right to peacefully assemble in the face of the Communist regime, that has never happened and has always been met with extreme violent backlash.
The Biden administration’s attempt to spin the protests as a demonstration about COVID-19 mirrors the rhetoric of the 2020 presidential election, during which Democrats charged that the Trump administration had failed on the pandemic.
It could also be an effort to defend the Obama administration’s “normalization” policy toward Cuba, in which then-Vice President Biden participated, which restored full diplomatic relations with the regime but failed to demand democratic reforms or progress on human rights.
Author: Elizabeth Tierney