A growing number of high-profile artists have voiced their support for historic anti-government protests in Cuba. The latest to join the list is Cuban-American rapper Pitbull, who took to Twitter on Wednesday to urge people to support protests that broke out in Cuba last week.
Thousands joined as a wave of nationwide protests broke out in Cuba last week over shortages of basic goods, curbs on civil liberties and the government’s handling of a surge in Covid-19 infections, in the most significant unrest in decades in the Communist-run country.
WHAT DID PITBULL SAY IN TWITTER VIDEO?
In a nearly two-minute video, Pitbull called on the world to support protesters demonstrating against the Communist government.
“Not only is this a Cuba event, this is a world event. This isn’t about politics, it’s about saving lives. This is about unity, not division, and the bottom line is about taking action,” says Pitbull, whose real name is Armando Christian Perez.
Pitbull said he was frustrated that he can’t get food, water and medicine to ‘his people’, and the most important — freedom.
IN PICS | Thousands march in Cuba to protest food shortages, rising prices
Asking the governments and global businesses to get together and help, Pitbull said, “We need to get creative, we need to figure out solutions while they’re [anti-government protesters] losing their lives over there, literally, for something that we wake up every day and appreciate, which is freedom,” the singer said.
Pitbull asked world personalities to create awareness to help protesting Cubans and figure out solutions to help them.
WHAT IS HAPPENING IN CUBA?
Thousands of Cubans joined demonstrations throughout the Communist-run country on Sunday to protest against a deep economic crisis that has seen shortages of basic goods and power outages. They also protested against the government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic and curbs on civil liberties.
Protesters took to the streets, shouting slogans like ‘down with communism,’ and ‘freedom for the people of Cuba,’ Reuters reported. Activists alleged that the government used so-called rapid-reaction brigades – government-organised bands of civilian recruits – to counter protesters.
Also See: Cuba temporarily lifts restrictions on food, medicine imports after protests
The rallies, the largest since the Cuban revolution of the 1950s, came as the country endured its worst economic crisis in 30 years, with chronic shortages of electricity, food and medicine, just as it recorded a spike in coronavirus infections.
Cuba also restricted access to social media and messaging platforms including Facebook and WhatsApp, global internet monitoring firm NetBlocks said on Tuesday, in the wake of the biggest anti-government protests in decades. They also accused the government of trying to disrupt communications. Introduced over two years ago, mobile internet played a key role in the protests, giving Cubans more of a platform to express their frustrations.
The Cuban authorities restored internet access on Wednesday following three days of interruptions.
WHAT HAS CUBAN GOVT SAID?
Cuba’s government said the demonstrations were orchestrated by counter-revolutionaries financed by the United States, manipulating frustration with an economic crisis largely caused by the decades-old US trade embargo.
President Miguel Diaz-Canel in a televised address reiterated his accusations against the United States, which he blamed for the demonstrations.
US President Joe Biden said on Monday that the United States “stands firmly with the people of Cuba as they assert their universal rights.” “Shutting down technology, shutting down information pathways – that does nothing to address the legitimate needs and aspirations of the Cuban people,” State Department spokesman Ned Price told a news briefing on Tuesday.
Cuba announced on Wednesday it was temporarily lifting restrictions on the amount of food and medicine travellers could bring into the country in an apparent small concession to demands by protesters who took to the streets last weekend.
Prime Minister Manuel Marrero said on Wednesday, “It was a demand made by many travellers and it was necessary to take this decision.”
It was not immediately clear how much difference the move would make given that there are very few flights at the moment into the Caribbean island nation which is going through its worst coronavirus outbreak since the start of the pandemic.
Government critic Yoani Sanchez, who runs news website 14ymedio, was quick to tweet that such concessions would not be enough to appease those who had protested on Sunday.
“We do not want crumbs, we want freedom, and we want it nowwwww,” she wrote. “The streets have spoken: we are not afraid.”
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