News and Commentary

WATCH: CBS Producer Blames Trump For Mass Protests In Cuba
MIAMI, FLORIDA - JULY 11: People rally near Versailles, a Cuban restaurant in the Little Havana neighborhood, in support of the protests in Cuba on July 11, 2021 in Miami, Florida. Thousands took to the streets across Cuba to protest pandemic restrictions, the pace of Covid-19 vaccinations and the Cuban government.
Anna Moneymaker / Getty Images

A CBS producer claimed that the Trump administration’s policies led to the current protests in Cuba. 

“The Trump administration passed many more regulations, many more sanctions against it, which basically has cut off all income coming into Cuba,” asserted Portia Siegelbaum, a CBS News producer based in Cuba. “I think that the Biden administration at least said at the beginning he was going to review this policy and make changes, but nothing has happened.”

In a January article, Siegelbaum again blamed the Trump administration for COVID-19 outbreaks on the island and denounced his decision to name Cuba as a state sponsor of terrorism:

But the pandemic hit the island as the Trump administration pursued a no-holds-barred policy intended to wipe out advances in relations made under former President Barack Obama. Monday’s announcement that Cuba will be added to the terrorism sponsors list — a dubious distinction shared only by North Korea, Iran and Syria — is like a final nail in the coffin.

The Trump administration had already limited the ability of Cubans in the U.S. to send money to their families back on the island (remittances); put many new constraints on U.S. travellers wishing to visit Cuba; limited commercial flights from the U.S. to a single city — Havana; stopped cruise ships from coming here and effectively barred U.S. nationals from staying in any of Cuba’s hotels. And all of that came on top of the long-running, blanket U.S. economic, financial and trade embargo on the island.

Visitors from the U.S. and remittances were an important source of income for the government, but also for normal Cubans — and for the emerging private sector that blossomed when Mr. Obama’s policies made it possible for large numbers of Americans to visit.

Over the weekend, protests in several dozen Cuban cities began in response to widespread poverty and lack of civil liberties caused by the island’s communist regime. Some protesters waved the American flag.

As the protests unfolded, American leftists refused to speak out against the regime’s repressive nature. Neither Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) nor Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) — who has praised Cuba several times throughout his decades-long career — offered any commentary on the recent protests. 

Meanwhile, Twitter — which is run by Jack Dorsey, who is well known for supporting leftist causes — stated merely that the protesters were helping to “spread awareness on the impact of COVID-19 in Cuba as cases hit an all-time high in the country.” 

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) denounced Twitter’s description: “Surreal but not surprising. @Twitter says this is all about COVID ‘awareness’ in #Cuba. Ignores this is really about how socialism is a disaster & always leads to tyranny, despair and suffering.”

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