One of the biggest protests in decades broke out in Cuba on Sunday as thousands of Cubans took to the streets to protest against the communist dictatorship amidst deteriorating living conditions.
This was the first time a multitude of citizens protested against Cuba’s communist government since 1994, according to reports.
Videos of the demonstrations occurring in different cities and towns, as well as in Havana, the country’s capitol, started circulating on social media showing protesters shouting “down with the dictatorship,” and “liberty,” according to The Epoch Times.
Another video showed protesters holding an American flag as they marched through the streets of Cuba to demand freedom.
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, whose family had been persecuted by Cuba’s communist regime before arriving in the United States, took to Twitter to comment on the protests.
“The Communist Cuban regime will be consigned to the dustbin of history. It has brutalized & denied freedom to generations of Cubans, and forced my family & so many others to flee,” Cruz wrote. “The American people stand squarely with the men & women of Cuba and their noble fight for liberty.”
Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar, R-Fla., said the regime is reportedly “shutting off the internet” to prevent the world from seeing the revolt.
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., slammed senior State Department official Julie Chung for suggesting that the protests in Cuba are “about rising COVID cases/deaths.” Rubio replied to Chung saying, “What a ridiculous tweet from the State Department. The protests in #Cuba are not simply because of COVID. And it’s 10:15 pm and still nothing from @joebiden @POTUS.”
Both President Donald Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis have voiced their support for protestors demanding the end of the dictatorship in Cuba.
DeSantis wrote on Twitter, “Florida supports the people of Cuba as they take to the streets against the tyrannical regime in Havana.”
Trump issued a statement on Monday announcing his support for the Cuban people saying, “I stand with the Cuban people 100% in their fight for freedom. The government must let them speak and be free!” Trump continued saying, “Joe Biden MUST stand up to the communist regime or — history will remember. The Cuban people deserve freedom and human rights! THEY ARE NOT AFRAID!”
Cuba’s President Miguel Díaz-Canel, in an televised address on Sunday, blamed the uprising on “U.S. efforts to tighten the embargo, with the alleged intention to ‘provoke a social uprising’ that would justify a military intervention,” according to the Miami Herald.
Díaz-Canel warned protestors that the government is “not going to hand over the sovereignty or the independence of the people.” He continued calling on “all revolutionaries” to confront protestors “with firmness and courage.”
“There are many revolutionaries in this country who are willing to give our lives, we are willing to do anything, and we will be in the streets fighting,” the Cuban dictator added.
On Monday, Díaz-Canel addressed the public again to call protestors “vulgar criminals.” He “decried ‘those who seek to discredit the revolution and fracture the unity of our country,’” per The Washington Post.