Cubans have been living under a communist dictatorship regime since 1959. That system of government has concentrated power into the hands of the Castro family and its cronies and has affected Cuba’s economy. This government has been blamed for causing a once-wealthy nation to stagnate. The Castro regime has had hundreds of thousands of people either killed or forced into hard labor and has led countless people to flee the country in a desperate bid to live better lives.
At long last, it really seems as if the Cuban people have had enough.
Recently, the largest anti-government protests in decades have erupted across Cuba. Thousands are involved. Many have been quick to blame this eruption on coronavirus lockdowns that have wrought even further damage to Cuba’s frail economy.
When Raul Castro, Fidel Castro’s brother, stepped down as dictator of Cuba back in April, some held out hope that things would change for the island nation. However, Castro’s successor, Miguel Mario Diaz-Canel Bermudez, was a longtime Castro ally, and he has continued to keep the county’s current system of governance. If these protests lead to the end of communism in Cuba, it will have global reverberations.
The Biden Administration has refused until very recently to comment on what is happening. The few comments that have been issued on the matter by Biden Administration officials have been extremely trite.
Biden Admin Mum on Cuba
When asked about the Cuban protests, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki simply said that the Cuban government had a duty to provide its people with food and medical care during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Julie Chung, the Acting Assistant Secretary for the State Department’s Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs says that the protests are mostly a commentary on the pandemic, saying on Twiter that, “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.”
Chung also issued some boilerplate condemning “calls to combat” in Cuba. It’s important to note that these calls were being issued by the government.
Footage from Cuba shows that protestors chanting “Cuba isn’t yours!” at Communist Party Headquarters, suggesting the government itself may be the crux of the issue.