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Cuban President Blames U.S. for ‘Social Unrest’ after Massive Anti-Communist Protest

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Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel (left) reacts with First Vice-President Salvador Antonio Valdes Mesa during the National Assembly in Havana, Cuba, April 19, 2018. (Alejandro Ernesto/Pool/Reuters)

Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel on Monday accused the U.S. of provoking social unrest in his country, one day after thousands of Cubans took to the streets to demand an end to the Communist dictatorship that has oppressed and anchored citizens in poverty for decades.

During a live television broadcast, Diaz-Canel said the U.S. has pursued a “policy of economic suffocation to provoke social unrest in the country.”

The statement came as President Joe Biden expressed support for the demonstrators in their fight against a corrupt authoritarian regime.

“The United States calls on the Cuban regime to hear their people and serve their needs at this vital moment rather than enriching themselves,” Biden said.

Bystander videos recorded Sunday depict demonstrators marching and riding bikes and motorcycles, energetically shouting “Freedom!” “Down with Communism!”  and “We are not afraid!”

In #Cuba, thousands took to the streets to protest against the govt, chanting “Down with the dictatorship” and “We are not afraid”. Long food lines and critical medicine shortages have fueled anger. Another failure of Communism to deliver.pic.twitter.com/Y21fhX1cK7

— Steve Hanke (@steve_hanke) July 11, 2021

“Patria y Vida,” translating to “Homeland and Life,” is also heard amid the crowds. The slogan references a viral song released by a group of Cuban musicians abroad earlier this year that has been used as message of rebellion by anti-government activists. The song is believed to be a social commentary spoof of Castro regime-operative Che Guevara’s “Homeland or Death” speech at the United National Assembly in 1964.

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