Cuba’s President Miguel Díaz-Canel and predecessor Raúl Castro were among the leaders of Saturday’s rally; the event showed citizens voicing support for the communist regime, a stark contrast to last week’s protests.
What We Know:
- Saturday’s demonstration in Havana saw people waving Cuban flags and holding photos of late leader Fidel Castro. Although the president took responsibility for the island’s coronavirus rates and economic issues on Wednesday, citizens blamed the island’s enemies, such as the United States, for the issues.
- In a speech, President Díaz-Canel condemned the United States embargo for causing the Cuban crisis. Additionally, he accused international media of maliciously interpreting last week’s nationwide protests. According to the Washington Post, the rally was the communist regime’s attempt to “save face.”
- However, Cuban citizens provided a different narrative to Saturday’s demonstration. On Instagram, screenshots surfaced that showed professors and officials telling students and workers that they needed to attend the rally; if they chose not to go, they would face losing their jobs, university status, jail time, or death. Cubans would meet at specific locations to get to Havana, and buses would take them to the capital. Officials also told citizens to wear red, white, and blue, the Cuban flag’s colors, to the demonstration.
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- Despite knowing the rules, some chose not to stay silent. Shortly before the rally began, authorities arrested a man shouting anti-government slogans. To ensure others could not see the reality of Saturday’s event, the government slowed the internet once more; anti-Castro blogger Yoani Sánchez tweeted she could not share videos of crowds being bussed to Havana.
Saturday’s demonstrations took place on the same day Cuban-Americans traveled to Washington, D.C., to raise awareness of the crisis. Demonstrators stood outside the White House to make sure President Biden takes action to help the island. Protestors also went to the Cuban Embassy to rally for the island’s governmental change.