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Biden reacts to Cuba protests: "We are on the side of the Cuban people"

President Joe Biden said the United States stands by Cuba's side as thousands of Cubans gather amid a growing economic crisis and mounting repression against the government against political opponents and a surge in Covid-19 cases that has put a strain on the country's health system.

“The Cuban people courageously claim basic and universal rights. These rights, including the right to peaceful protest and the right to freely determine their own future, must be respected, ”Biden said in a statement. "The United States urges the Cuban regime to listen to its people and, at this crucial moment, serve their needs rather than enrich itself."

Biden added that the United States is standing "with the Cuban people and their call for freedom and liberation from the tragic grip of the pandemic and from the decades of repression and economic suffering to which they have been subjected by the authoritarian regime of Cuba."

We stand by the side of the Cuban people who courageously assert their fundamental and universal rights and demand all freedom and liberation from the tragic grip of the pandemic and from decades of oppression and economic suffering. https://t.co/KGY3MFfsw0

– President Biden (@POTUS) July 12, 2021

Cuba's President Miguel Díaz-Canel was defiant, blaming the U.S. embargo on Cuba for the unrest, sanctions that his government says contributed to power outages and restricted access to food and medical care.

“What is its origin, what is its cause? It's the blockade, ”he said when asked why citizens are protesting.

Alan is a writer, editor, and news junkie from New York.

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