Cubans across the Caribbean island country protested over the weekend in response to food and medicine shortages.
“It is the most popular demonstration to protest the government that we have experienced in Cub since ’59,” said Cuban activist Carolina Barrero, referring to the year when Fidel Castro took power in the country.
According to The Christian Post, protests took place in cities around the island country with activists shouting, “Yes, we can!” and “Freedom!”
Cuba has been a one-party state under the Communist Party of Cuba since 1959 when Castro overthrew the U.S.-supported dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista. Castro died in 2016, but in 2008 his brother, Raul Castro, was elected president. In 2019, Miguel Diaz-Canel was elected.
Pandemic restrictions have created shortages and economic troubles in Cuba.
President Miguel Diaz-Canel spoke on national television about the protests, saying he blamed the U.S. for causing the crisis because of sanctions placed on the country.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis posted on Twitter that the state was behind the protests. Many Cuban migrants and refugees live in Florida.
“Florida supports the people of Cuba as they take to the streets against the tyrannical regime in Havana,” DeSantis wrote. “The Cuban dictatorship has repressed the people of Cuba for decades and is now trying to silence those who have the courage to speak out against its disastrous policies.”
Florida supports the people of Cuba as they take to the streets against the tyrannical regime in Havana. The Cuban dictatorship has repressed the people of Cuba for decades & is now trying to silence those who have the courage to speak out against its disastrous policies#SOSCuba pic.twitter.com/H71EYoKdUZ
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) July 11, 2021
Sen. Marco Rubio, the Republican representative for Florida, also criticized the Cuban government.
“The incompetent communist party of #Cuba cannot feed or protect the people from the virus. Now those in the military must defend the people not the communist party,” Rubio said in a tweet.
The incompetent communist party of #Cuba cannot feed or protect the people from the virus.
Now those in the military must defend the people not the communist party.
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) July 11, 2021
In 1992, the Cuban government changed from an atheist state to a secular state, thus allowing some religious activities. However, according to reports, Cuban Christians, which make up about 59 percent of the country, face government persecution.
In 2019 and 2020, the U.S. State Department placed Cuba on a “special watch list” of countries that participate in or allow severe violations of religious freedom.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Anna Moneymaker/Staff, Protests in Florida’s Little Havana
Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for ChristianHeadlines.com since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and IBelieve.com. She blogs at The Migraine Runner.