President Joe Biden says the American people are on the side of Cubans protesting in the face of that nation’s worst economic situation in decades.
“We stand with the Cuban people and their clarion call for freedom and relief from the tragic grip of the pandemic and from the decades of repression and economic suffering to which they have been subjected by Cuba’s authoritarian regime,” Biden said in a statement.
“The Cuban people are bravely asserting fundamental and universal rights,” Biden said. “Those rights, including the right of peaceful protest and the right to freely determine their own future, must be respected. 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’s statement comes after a measured response from the State Department, one criticized robustly by U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio.
Rubio’s greatest frustration arguably was with the White House, however. A State Department undersecretary offered a response at odds with the vivid pictures and video from the island, which has been under the yoke of Castroism for more than 60 years.
“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. We commend the numerous efforts of the Cuban people mobilizing donations to help neighbors in need,” Julie Chung asserted on Sunday.
Rubio fired back that Cubans were protesting “62 years of socialism, lies, tyranny & misery,” not COVID-19.
Expect further pressure from Republicans for a more robust response.
U.S. Sen. Rick Scott. urged on Sunday that “the Biden administration should quickly denounce any detention or violence toward peaceful protesters in Cuba. America & every freedom-loving nation must fully support the brave Cuban people in their calls for liberty & human dignity. The world is watching.”
Scott wanted more Monday.
“The brave people of #Cuba are taking a stand. Communism doesn’t work and the people know it. I stand with the Cuban people fighting for freedom and democracy. The Biden Administration must be unequivocal in its support of those fighting for better lives,” Scott tweeted Monday morning.
U.S. Rep. Mike Waltz likewise wanted more.
“For 60 years the people of Cuba have been robbed of their basic freedoms & human rights by Castro’s Communist regime. The Biden Admin must show the world that the U.S. stands with the brave protesters putting their lives on the line to liberate Cuba from oppression.” Waltz tweeted Monday.
This is a ridiculous tweet from @StateDept
People in #Cuba are protesting 62 years of socialism, lies,tyranny & misery not “expressing concern about rising COVID cases/deaths”
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) July 12, 2021