President Biden on Monday praised Cuban protesters for issuing a “clarion call for freedom and relief” in historic Sunday protests, calling on the Cuban government to allow for peaceful protests.
Biden’s statement follows allegations from Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel that the United States is funding the demonstrators.
“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,” Biden said.
CUBAN PRESIDENT URGES COUNTRY’S ‘REVOLUTIONARY’ CITIZENS TO COUNTER PROTESTS
“The Cuban people are bravely asserting fundamental and universal rights,” the president continued, adding that those rights, “including the right of peaceful protest and the right to freely determine their own future, must be respected.”
“The United States calls on the Cuban regime to hear their people and serve their needs at this vital moment rather than enriching themselves,” Biden said.
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Protesters demanded freedom and are calling for the disbandment of the country’s communist dictatorship as the country goes through its worst economic crisis in decades, along with a resurgence of coronavirus cases.
Jake Sullivan, the White House national security adviser, took to Twitter to say the “U.S. 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.”
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But Díaz-Canel blamed the U.S. for the protests, claiming the American government has not only limited Cuba’s access to goods but also paid people to protest.
Diaz-Canal said protesters are a “counterrevolutionary, mercenary” group paid by the U.S. government to “assemble these types of demonstrations.”
“The moment that we have to focus on is how to attend to what is problematic, how to achieve financial capacity,” Diaz-Canal said in a video clip posted to Twitter.
“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,” Diaz-Canel said on Sunday, according to Reuters.
Fox News’ Eddie DeMarche and The Associated Press contributed to this report.