Protests take place across Cuba as the country faces shortages of COVID-19 vaccines and basic necessities

CUBA: Social media videos of rare anti-government protests in various cities amid reports of gas, electricity and vaccine shortages. President Miguel Díaz-Canel responds, calls it a provocation and calls on supporters of the revolution to take to the streets.

Thousands of Cubans have taken to the streets in Havana and in other cities to demand vaccines and food as the country faces a period of economic crisis brought on by the global COVID-19 pandemic. People criticized President Miguel Diaz-Canel, saying “down with the dictatorship,” according to the Miami Herald. In a speech addressing the country, Diaz-Canel blamed the United States for the unrest, according to Reuters.

“Shouting ‘Freedom’ and other anti-government slogans, hundreds of Cubans took to the streets in cities around the country on Sunday to protest food and medicine shortages, in a remarkable eruption of discontent not seen in nearly 30 years.” — The New York Times

“In a country known for repressive crackdowns on dissent, the rallies were widely viewed as astonishing. Activists and analysts called it the first time that so many people had openly protested against the Communist government since the so-called Maleconazo uprising, which exploded in the summer of 1994 into a huge wave of Cubans leaving the country by sea.” — The New York Times

“In all cases, the crowd used strong language to refer to President Miguel Díaz-Canel, whose popularity is sharply falling as life in the island deteriorates. In an impromptu televised address later in the afternoon, Díaz-Canel blamed the protests on U.S. efforts to tighten the embargo, with the alleged intention to ‘provoke a social uprising” that would justify a military intervention.'” — The Miami Herald

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