Cubans took to the streets in cities across the desperately impoverished police state to protest the island nation’s brutal 62-year-old communist dictatorship in what are said to be the largest public demonstrations against the regime in decades.
Thousands of Cubans in at least 16 cities from Havana all the way to Santiago de Cuba chanted “libertad,” the Spanish word for freedom, as they demanded an end to government oppression. Many wore or waved American flags and were beaten by police, Breitbart News reported. Hundreds were reportedly arrested. Cuban journalists were arrested for covering the protests, according to Cubanet.
Cuban President Miguel Mario Diaz–Canel did what communist dictators do when their grip on power is threatened: he appeared on television July 11 to urge his fellow communists to use violence against the protesters.
“We are willing to give our lives. They will have to pass over our corpses if they want to confront the revolution,” Diaz-Canel said. “We are willing to do anything.”
“We are convening all revolutionary communists to go out to the streets where these provocations are happening and confront them with firmness,” he declared. “The order of combat is issued, revolutionaries to the streets.”
The protests seemed to start in San Antonio de los Baños, a town in western Cuba the morning of July 11, a Sunday. Local independent media outlets reported crowds were chanting anti-government messages including “down with communism,” “they [the regime] must leave,” and “fuck Diaz-Canel.”
Some managed to sneak past the 12-year-olds in electronic sweatshops who moderate content on Facebook and livestream protests as they happened.
“The American flag, popularized as a protest symbol in Cuba by dissident Daniel Llorente, made multiple appearances among Cubans on Sunday. Video authenticated by the Miami broadcaster AméricaTeve showed a group of Cubans carrying an American flag through the streets of Havana on Sunday while chanting ‘freedom!’ Videos taken by Cubans on social media and distributed through other Latin American news organizations also show the presence of the U.S. flag,” Breitbart reported.
“In Mayabeque, a Havana suburb, a crowd of hundreds congregated in front of an image of the Virgin Mary to pray for an end to the communist regime. At least one participant can be seen wearing an American flag shirt while praying.”
A Roman Catholic priest, Father Castor Jose Alvarez Devesa, reportedly disappeared in Camagüey, a hotbed of protest activity, and then resurfaced in secret police custody. Persecution of the religious is an everyday occurrence in communist Cuba.
The government worked hard to crush dissent in Camagüey. Footage of police publicly beating protesters there circulated, as well as of protesters fighting back with rocks after police opened fire on unarmed civilians. A video showing Cubans flipping over a police car and mounting it in triumph also made the rounds, though it is not clear where in the country it was made.
Reports also indicate police fired upon protesters in Havana, apparently to keep them out of the Plaza of the Revolution, which is sacred ground for communists. Come to think of it, its hallowed status must explain why then-President Barack Obama posed for a photo there in 2016.
“Diario de Cuba, citing a reporter on the ground, stated that police surrounded the Plaza and deployed a communist mob to wave photos of Fidel Castro. Police carrying baseball bats offered protection to the state-sponsored mob. Photos of the pro-Castro mob in Havana appeared in Granma, the official newspaper of the Communist Party, late Sunday appear to confirm those reports,” according to Breitbart.
Early reactions from the Biden administration were predictably timid and unduly diplomatic towards the monstrous regime.
Julie J. Chung, Acting Assistant Secretary for the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, mumbled some nonsense on Twitter on July 11 at 5:24 p.m. about Cubans exercising “their right to peaceful assembly” to protest COVID-19 and “medicine shortages,” and praising a charity drive, or something.
“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,” Chung tweeted.
A day later whoever controls what remains of Joe Biden’s brain released a statement in the name of the placeholder president that sounded somewhat like something a major world leader would say about the civil unrest in the giant, sunny prison with beaches 90 miles from Florida:
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. 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.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken denounced the Cuban regime and its violent crackdown on dissent:
The United States stands with the Cuban people seeking freedom and respect for their human rights. Violence against peaceful protestors is abhorrent. We urge restraint and respect for the voice of the people.
But does the Biden-Harris administration, which is fine with communist-inspired critical race theory indoctrination stateside and the ongoing terrorism of Black Lives Matter, really want to help the Cuban people throw off their socialist shackles?
Don’t count on it.