President Joe Biden issued a statement on the pro-democracy and anti-Communist protests in Cuba Monday morning, echoing earlier administration statements on the matter, and calling for the dictatorial Cuban regime to “hear their people” and “serve their needs” amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The statement begins by expressing solidarity 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.”
“The Cuban people are bravely asserting fundamental and universal rights,” Biden continued. “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,” the president concluded.
The latter part of the statement echoes other Biden administration comments on the matter, including a comment from Julie Chung, the acting assistant secretary for the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, who tweeted Sunday, “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.”
As The Daily Wire reported earlier Monday, that statement drew swift criticism from Republican legislators like Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX), who pointed out that the Cubans protest in the streets of Havana were not demanding vaccines, they were demanding “LIBERTAD.”
“Stop playing cover for communists and support the Cuban people. My god. Why is that so hard for you,” Crenshaw tweeted at Chung. “No they’re chanting LIBERTAD,” he added, in reference to videos of the protests posted to social media.
Cuban officials, in statements made Sunday, blamed the unrest on the United States government, which they claim is fomenting anti-Communist sentiment among Cubans.
Cuba’s President Miguel Diaz-Canel “blamed the unrest on old Cold War foe the United States … in a televised speech on Sunday afternoon. Diaz-Canel said many protesters were sincere but manipulated by U.S.-orchestrated social media campaigns and ‘mercenaries’ on the ground and warned that further ‘provocations’ would not be tolerated, calling on supporters to confront ‘provocations,'” according to Reuters.
The U.S. responded to Diaz-Canel’s threats in a lukewarm statement made Monday, with national security advisor Jake Sullivan noting on Twitter that the “U.S. supports freedom of expression and assembly across Cuba,” and warning that the Biden administration will “strongly condemn any violence or targeting of peaceful protesters who are exercising their universal rights.”
It is not clear whether Biden’s Monday statement suggests the United States will take any further action on the Cuban protests or in support of the Cuban dissidents in their largest show of solidarity in decades. As Daily Wire editor emeritus Ben Shapiro noted on Twitter Monday, Cuba’s health and food failures are “an outgrowth” of the country’s authoritarian regime. The two issues are inextricably linked.
The Daily Wire is one of America’s fastest-growing conservative media companies and counter-cultural outlets for news, opinion, and entertainment. Get inside access to The Daily Wire by becoming a member.