Cuban president claims protests part of US plot to ‘fracture’ Communist party
Cuban officials blame the US for Sunday’s demonstrations as Biden calls on island’s leaders to hear citizens’ ‘clarion call for freedom’
The Cuban president, Miguel Díaz-Canel, has attacked the “shameful delinquents” he claimed were trying to “fracture” his country’s communist revolution after the Caribbean island witnessed its largest anti-government protests in nearly three decades.
“The approach wasn’t peaceful yesterday,” the 61-year-old politician claimed, criticising the “completely vulgar” behaviour of some demonstrators who he accused of throwing rocks at police and destroying cars. Díaz-Canel conceded other protesters had legitimate concerns over food shortages and blackouts, although he blamed those problems on US sanctions. “It’s legitimate to feel dissatisfaction,” the party’s powerful first secretary said in the broadcast.
Rogelio Polanco Fuentes, a top party official who runs its ideology department, denounced the protests as part of a well-funded US-sponsored effort to create “instability and chaos” in Cuba, which is currently experiencing its worst economic slump in decades as well as a worsening Covid crisis.
Polanco Fuentes compared Sunday’s protests to the failed US-backed uprising against Venezuela’s authoritarian leader, Nicolás Maduro, in 2019. “We are living through new chapters of the non-conventional war … in other places they have called these Colour Revolutions … or soft coups,” Polanco said.
Cuban dissidents rejected those claims about the protests which rippled across Cuba on Sunday, with thousands taking to the streets to denounce the lack of medicine and food and the lack of political freedoms.