Cuban President Urges Nation’s “Revolutionary” Citizens to Counter Protesters

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Thousands of Cubans took to the streets of Havana to blame the deteriorating conditions in the country under the communist regime – the biggest protest in decades – prompting the country’s president to call citizens “revolutionaries” to counter the demonstrators.

President Miguel Diaz-Canel, who also heads the Communist Party, addressed the country and criticized the United States for stoking anger, according to the Washington Post.

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“We are ready for anything,” he said. “We will fight in the streets.”

Cuba is going through its worst economic crisis in decades, accompanied by a resurgence of coronavirus cases, as it suffers the consequences of US sanctions imposed by the Trump administration.

Jake Sullivan, the White House National Security Advisor, said on Twitter that “the United States supports freedom of speech and assembly in Cuba and would strongly condemn any violence or targeting of peaceful protesters exercising their universal rights “.

Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel is seen during a demonstration organized by citizens to demand improvements in the country, in San Antonio de los Banos, Cuba, on July 11, 2021. (Photo by Yamil LAGE / AFP) (Photo by YAMIL LAGE / AFP via Getty Images)
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Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel is seen during a demonstration organized by citizens to demand improvements in the country, in San Antonio de los Banos, Cuba, on July 11, 2021. (Photo by Yamil LAGE / AFP) (Photo by YAMIL LAGE / AFP via Getty Images)

Many protesters in the city of San Antonio de los Banos were young and insulted Diaz-Canel. They shouted that they were “not afraid”.

Senator Ted Cruz, the son of a Cuban immigrant, took to Twitter on Sunday in support of the thousands of demonstrators.

Cruz reposted a video that claimed to show dozens of them in front of the Communist Party headquarters and claimed that the current regime would be “thrown in the dustbin of history”.

“It brutalized and denied freedom to generations of Cubans, and forced my family and so many others to flee,” he tweeted. “The American people stand firmly with the men and women of Cuba and their noble struggle for freedom.”

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In 2009, a year after Raul Castro officially replaced Fidel as President of Cuba, Díaz-Canel became Minister of Higher Education. In 2012, he ascended to one of Cuba’s vice-presidencies and was appointed shortly after first vice-president.

“We call on all revolutionaries in the country, all communists, to take to the streets wherever there is an effort to produce these provocations,” Diaz-Canel said, according to Reuters.

Witnesses told the Post that tear gas was deployed and dozens of protesters were arrested. The newspaper said there were several people injured.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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