The White House called communism a “failed ideology” Thursday, saying President Biden “stands with” the people of Cuba and their “call for freedom.”
Amid historic protests in the island country, White House press secretary Jen Psaki affirmed that the Biden administration supports Cuban protesters and their “call for freedom from both the pandemic and from decades of repression and economic suffering to which they’ve been subjected by Cuba’s authoritarian regime.”
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“There is an ongoing review of our own policies, and as we look at those policies, one of the big factors is ensuring that we are not doing anything to pad the pockets of a corrupt, authoritarian regime,” Psaki said, adding that the White House is looking closely at ways to “help in a humanitarian way” to “support the voices of the Cuban people.”
Psaki went on to call communism a “failed ideology.”
“We certainly believe that it has failed the people of Cuba,” Psaki said. “They deserve freedom, they deserve a government that supports them – whether that is making sure they have health and medical supplies, access to vaccines, or whether they have economic opportunity and prosperity instead – this has been a government, an authoritarian, communist regime that has repressed its people and has failed the people of Cuba.”
Psaki went on to note the “ideology of the government, which has failed, and has led to a failure, a lack of access to economic opportunity, to medical supplies, to COVID vaccines” are all reasons for the historic protests.
Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel, who days ago called on revolutionaries to counter anti-government protesters in the streets, acknowledged on Wednesday night government shortcomings in the lead-up to the unrest in the country.
Díaz-Canel, who has been widely criticized for the country’s violent crackdown and internet blackouts, gave a televised address Wednesday night and acknowledged that his government failures played a role in the protests over food shortages and other problems.
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“We have to gain experience from the disturbances,” he said, according to the Associated Press. “We also have to carry out a critical analysis of our problems in order to act and overcome, and avoid their repetition.”
Historic protests broke out across Cuba on Sunday night. Díaz-Canel, who heads the Communist Party, seemed uninterested in making any concessions. He placed the blame squarely on the U.S. for stoking resentment and called the protesters mercenaries. At one point, he said, “The order to fight has been given—into the street, revolutionaries!”
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Cuba is facing its worst economic crisis in decades, along with a resurgence of coronavirus cases, as it suffers the consequences of U.S. sanctions imposed by the Trump administration. Some protesters have demanded a change in government, so although Díaz-Canel seemed to tone down the rhetoric, it remains to be seen if there will be any concessions by the government.
Fox News’ Edmund DeMarche and The Associated Press contributed to this report.