Cuba’s overseas minister has accused the USA of being concerned in efforts to “subvert regulation and order” within the nation after President Joe Biden’s administration welcomed the braveness of Cuban protesters who took to the streets final 12 months in uncommon anti-government demonstrations.
In a press release on Monday marking the one-year anniversary of the Cuban protests, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken mentioned Washington “have a good time[s] the Cuban individuals and commend[s] their indomitable dedication within the face of oppression”.
“To the Cuban individuals: People watched with admiration on July 11, 2021 as tens of 1000’s of you took to the streets to boost your voices for human rights, elementary freedoms, and a greater life. And we stand with you because the Cuban regime, as an alternative of welcoming the voices of the individuals, has condemned a whole lot of protestors to decades-long jail sentences,” Blinken mentioned.
Cuban Overseas Minister Bruno Rodriguez shot again on Twitter, saying Havana rejected Blinken’s feedback “confirming direct involvement of presidency of that nation in makes an attempt to subvert order and peace in #Cuba in violation of Worldwide Regulation”.
Hundreds of Cubans took to the streets within the capital Havana and different cities on July 11, 2021, in protest over rising meals prices, medical shortages and dire socio-economic circumstances that worsened through the COVID-19 pandemic.
A number of the protesters took direct intention on the authorities of President Miguel Diaz-Canel, chanting “down with the dictatorship” and “we would like liberty.” The all-but-unheard-of demonstrations rocked the Caribbean nation, the place authorities launched a mass crackdown on members.
“In the course of the protests, and within the weeks following them, the authorities arbitrarily detained a whole lot of individuals with out informing their households of their whereabouts, saved activists and unbiased journalists beneath excessive surveillance and lower off the inhabitants’s web entry,” Amnesty Worldwide mentioned in a factsheet on Monday marking the anniversary.
“A 12 months in the past right this moment, 1000’s of Cubans protested, demanding rights and freedoms, however the authorities gave a lot of them solely two choices: jail or exile,” Juan Pappier, a senior Americas researcher at Human Rights Watch, additionally mentioned in a press release. “Governments in Latin America and Europe ought to urgently escalate their human rights scrutiny over Cuba and prioritize a concerted, multilateral response earlier than this human rights disaster turns into even worse.”
Havana has accused Washington of sowing discontent amongst Cuban residents and instigating the protests, whereas additionally pointing to the decades-old US embargo towards the island as the principle issue hurting the nation’s economic system.
In January, the Cuban authorities acknowledged that greater than 700 individuals, together with youngsters, confronted prison costs in relation to the protests, together with “acts of vandalism, which [were] tried towards authorities, individuals and property, and extreme disruptions of public order”.
Final month, almost 400 individuals have been sanctioned for taking part within the demonstrations. Of that, 297 individuals have been sentenced to between 5 and 25 years in jail for crimes of sedition, sabotage, theft with pressure, and public dysfunction, the lawyer common’s workplace mentioned.
In April, the US and Cuba held their highest-level talks since a extreme disruption in ties through the Trump administration, discussing the urgent problem of migration, and the Biden authorities in mid-Could introduced it could ease some restrictions towards the nation.
However US criticism of the Cuban authorities’s response to the protests, and continued persecution of demonstrators, continues to be a significant sticking level between the 2 nations.
On Saturday, the US State Division introduced visa restrictions towards 28 Cuban officers that it mentioned have been implicated within the crackdown on protests final 12 months.
In a press release, the division mentioned the restrictions would apply to high-ranking members of the Cuban Communist Occasion and officers who work within the nation’s state communications and media sectors.
Rodriguez, the Cuban overseas minister, blasted the US measures and coverage in the direction of Cuba. “In view of failed try to impress fashionable rebellion in Cuba in 2021, the US authorities and its Secretary of State are searching for to discredit individuals’s victory over imperialist aggression,” he said.