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Anti-Regime Protests Roil Cuba as Pandemic Increases Hu...



Anti-Regime Protests Roil Cuba as Pandemic Increases Hunger

People take part in a demonstration against the government of Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel in Havana on 11 July 2021. (Photo: Yamil Lage / AFP / Getty Images)
By Bloomberg
12 Jul 2021 0

(Bloomberg) --Cuban state media acknowledged the outbreak of anti-government demonstrations on Sunday and blamed the protests on its “neo-liberal” opponents.

By Matthew Bristow
Jul 12, 2021, 1:55 AM – Updated on Jul 12, 2021, 5:16 AM
Word Count: 298

Images on social media showed crowds in Havana, the provincial town of San Antonio de los Banos and elsewhere. Large mobilizations against the regime are rare on the tightly-controlled island, which strictly curbs dissent.

“Those who fan these demonstrations don’t want the welfare of the people, but rather the privatization of health and education, and neo-liberalism,” state-controlled Prensa Latina cited President Miguel Diaz-Canel as saying.

Cuba has faced growing hunger after its economy was hit by a slump in tourist revenue since the pandemic struck. The government last year introduced emergency economic reforms in response to the downturn, including eliminating some subsidies, adjusting prices and wages, and ending the dual currency system.

“In an historic day of protests, the world is bearing witness as thousands of Cubans take to the streets to call for an end to dictatorship in their country,” said Democrat Senator Bob Menendez, the Chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, in a statement. “Despite ongoing persecution on the island, Cubans are bravely joining to demand nothing more than the ability to live safely and speak their minds, freely, openly, and without fear.”

(Updates with comment from Senator Bob Menendez in 5th paragraph.)

–With assistance from Jim Wyss.

© 2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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