The Biden administration responded to Cuban protest against the Communist regime in a statement of a minor official praising protests “about rising COVID cases/deaths & medicine shortages.”
The protest broke out on Sunday in Havana, and other Cuban cities as people chanted “Freedom!” and “Down with dictatorship!” marching against Communist Party institutions. The New York Times noted the demonstrations were triggered by “food and medicine shortages,” they also “openly protested against the Communist government” in nearly thirty years it is the first time. Some activists called it the largest spontaneous popular protest since Fidel Castro took power in 1959, while protesters openly denounced the Miguel Diaz-Canel regime.
The Acting Assistant Secretary for the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, Juli Chung, said on Twitter that Cubans were exercising “their right to peaceful assembly” to protest COVID and “medicine shortages.”
The statement from the Biden administration ignored democracy and freedom.
Cubans do not have the “right to peaceful assembly”; like many rights in the Cuban Constitution, it exists only in theory.
The Biden administration attempted to claim the protests as a demonstration about COVID-19, which mirrors the rhetoric of the presidential election of 2020, as Democrats argued the Trump administration failed on the pandemic.
Perhaps it’s an effort to defend the “normalization” policy of the Obama administration towards Cuba, which then vice president Biden participated in, restoring full diplomatic relations while not calling for democratic reform of progress on human rights.