US calls on Cuban leaders to demonstrate restraint, respect voice of the people

·3-min read
Cubans protesting over lack of freedom and worsening economic condition (Photo Credit - CNN)
Cubans protesting over lack of freedom and worsening economic condition (Photo Credit - CNN)

Washington [US], July 14 (ANI): The US on Tuesday (local time) urged the Cuban leaders to demonstrate restraint and respect the voice of people amid rising violence in the country over lack of freedom and worsening economic conditions.

"We call on Cuba's leaders to demonstrate restraint (and) respect for the voice of the people by opening all means of communication, both online and offline," said US State Department spokesman Ned Price.

"We are always considering options available to us that would allow us to support the Cuban people," added Price.

He also said that the US is considering an array of options to help the Cuban people, after thousands of protestors filled the streets in the island nation this week over frustrations with a crippled economy hit by food and power shortages, reported CNBC.

"We are always considering options available to us that would allow us to support the Cuban people, to support their humanitarian needs, which are indeed profound. And they are profound because of not anything the United States has done, but from the actions and inactions, mismanagement, corruption of the Cuban regime," Ned Price told reporters.

Price said that in 2020 the US exported more than USD 175 million worth of goods to Cuba, including food and medicine. He also condemned the Cuban government's forceful attempts to silence peaceful protesters and called on Havana to "release anyone detained for peaceful protest", reported CNBC.

Sunday's protests in Cuba were the largest the communist country has seen since the 1990s. Cuba is facing food and power shortages as it struggles against the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Cuban government blamed US trade sanctions for the nation's troubles, while Washington said mismanagement by Havana is to blame, reported CNBC.

Cuban President Diaz-Canel Bermudez said in a national address on Sunday that his regime was "prepared to do anything" to quell the protests, according to a report from The Washington Post. "We will be battling in the streets," he said, adding that the United States is in part to blame for the widespread discontent in Cuba.

On Monday, he appeared alongside members of his government and blamed US trade sanctions for hampering Cuba's growth.

Reacting to the Cuban President's comments, Secretary of State Antony Blinken told reporters on Monday that the United States was not to blame for the laundry list of issues plaguing Havana, reported CNBC.

Blinken said that Cubans were "tired of the mismanagement of the Cuban economy, tired of the lack of adequate food and, of course, an adequate response to the COVID-19 pandemic."

"That is what we are hearing and seeing in Cuba, and that is a reflection of the Cuban people, not of the United States or any other outside actor," Blinken said.

Meanwhile, President Joe Biden told reporters at the White House on Monday that the US stands "firmly with the people of Cuba as they assert their universal rights."

"The Cuban people are demanding their freedom from an authoritarian regime. I don't think we've seen anything like these protests in a long, long time if, quite frankly, ever," Biden said. (ANI)

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