Cuba: President blames unrest on US 'economic asphyxiation'
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Despite an internet blackout, images were posted on social media encouraging people to take to the streets. Footage later emerged showing security forces detaining, beating and pepper-spraying protesters.
Cuba’s president Miguel Díaz- Canel slammed demonstrators as “counter-revolutionaries”, while his foreign minister claimed the mass protests had been financed and instigated by the United States.
Those on the streets say they are angry about the collapse of the economy, food and medicine shortages, price hikes and the government’s handling of Covid-19.
Posts on social media showed people chanting “freedom” and “down with the dictatorship”, overturning police cars and looting some state-owned shops.
Tourism, one of the most important sectors, has been devastated by the restrictions on travel during the pandemic, while this year’s crucial sugar harvest has been far worse than expected.
Demonstrator Carlos Alberto said: “A colleague of mine was arrested. They came to look for him at his home. I’m afraid the same thing could happen to me.
“We weren’t doing anything bad. We’re just asking for freedom and with this attitude they’re showing what they are: a dictatorship. The streets are full of police.”
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