Cuba’s President Miguel Díaz-Canel is calling on the Communist regime’s supporters to “defend the revolution” against pro-democracy protesters who marched on government buildings Sunday and warning demonstrators that the Cuban government is “willing to do anything” to stay in power.
Journalists covering the scene in Cuba, which descended into chaos Sunday, reported that Cuba’s President is “setting the stage for civil war,” as demonstrations rage on.
“In an impromptu televised address later in the afternoon, Díaz-Canel blamed the protests on U.S. efforts to tighten the embargo, with the alleged intention to ‘provoke a social uprising’ that would justify a military intervention,” the Miami Herald reported.
— Marc R. Masferrer (@MRMasferrer) July 11, 2021
“The order to fight has been given – into the street, revolutionaries!” Diaz-Canal reportedly told Cubans. “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.”
“We are not going to hand over the sovereignty or the independence of the people,” Diaz said, per the Miami Herald. “There are many revolutionaries in this country who are willing to give our lives, we are willing to do anything, and we will be in the streets fighting.”
On Monday, Diaz-Canel again addressed the demonstrations in a speech, according to The Washington Post, though the outlet added that the President’s tone was “less vulgar than the day before.” In that address, Diaz-Canel denounced the protesters as “vulgar criminals” and “decried ‘those who seek to discredit the revolution and fracture the unity of our country.'”
As The Daily Wire reported on Sunday, Cuba erupted in some of the largest pro-democracy protests seen in decades, demanding a solution to the “impoverished conditions of the island, their lack of freedom under the far-left Marxist regime.” They stormed government buildings “while chanting ‘Liberty’ and ‘Freedom’ and waving an American flag.”
Diaz-Canel has been a primary target of the protests that began on Sunday, according to the Miami Herald. Video, posted to social media on Sunday, showed “hundreds of protesters calling for freedom and shouting, ‘Down with the dictatorship’ and ‘Down with Díaz-Canel,’ a reference to Cuban leader Miguel Díaz-Canel. The protesters also demanded medicine, COVID vaccines, and ‘the end of hunger.’ A crowd is seen pushing a police car and shouting ‘the dictators just arrived,’ in reference to the police. Later, one protester is heard saying, ‘This is a peaceful demonstration.'”
The protests extended outside Havana, as well, in the “Artemisa province near Havana” video, posted to Facebook, shows Cubans “protesting against the government and chanting ‘Down with Diaz-Canel’ and ‘Patria y Vida.’ In several moments the crowd used strong language to refer to Díaz-Canel, whose popularity is sharply falling as life on the island deteriorates,” the Miami Herald continued.
Protesters across Cuba said that they are “not afraid” of retribution from Castro’s regime.
The Biden administration has been largely quiet about the protests, issuing several lukewarm statements of support. White House national security advisor Jake Sullivan was the latest to weigh in, 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.”
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