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President Biden calls on Cuban regime to ‘hear their folks and serve their wants’ amid uncommon protests

“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 mentioned in an announcement.

He continued, “The Cuban people are bravely asserting fundamental and universal rights. 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.”

White House officers are intently monitoring the protests within the nation, 90 miles from the US, with nationwide safety adviser Jake Sullivan warning in opposition to focusing on the peaceable protesters.

Thousands of Cubans took to the streets on Sunday to protest an absence of meals and drugs because the nation undergoes a grave financial disaster aggravated by the Covid-19 pandemic and US sanctions.

Many chanted for “freedom” and known as for Díaz-Canel to step down, Reuters reported. Multiple protesters had been arrested by police, who used tear fuel to interrupt up some demonstrations.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki mentioned the US is “assessing how we can be helpful directly to the people of Cuba.” She mentioned it’s too early to foretell any potential coverage change in the case of Cuba, and that the US will continued to be ruled by the assist for democracy and human rights for the nation’s folks.

“Our approach continues to be governed by two principles; first, support for democracy and human rights, which is going to continue to be at the core of our efforts through empowering the Cuban people to determine their own future. Second, Americans, especially Cuban Americans, are the best ambassadors for freedom and prosperity in Cuba,” Psaki mentioned at Monday’s White House press briefing.

In nationally televised remarks Sunday, Díaz-Canel positioned blame for the financial situations on sanctions from the US, which Biden didn’t handle in his assertion. The Trump administration enacted among the hardest financial measures in opposition to Cuba in many years, and thus far, the Biden administration has but to elevate them.

“The U.S. supports freedom of expression and assembly across Cuba, and would strongly condemn any violence or targeting of peaceful protesters who are exercising their universal rights,” Sullivan tweeted Sunday evening.

Psaki appeared to reply to these feedback, saying the protests gave the impression to be spontaneous expressions of the Cuban folks, however didn’t point out Díaz-Canel by identify in her remarks.

“There’s every indication that yesterday’s protests were spontaneous expressions of people who are exhausted with the Cuban government’s economic mismanagement and repression, and these are protests inspired by the harsh reality of everyday life in Cuba, not people in another country,” she mentioned.

CNN’s Patrick Oppmann contributed to this report.

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