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Graphic shows key financial indicators of Cuba’s economy.
GN41576NL

POLITIEK

Cuba’s economische crisis

By Duncan Mil

July 12, 2021 - Cubans are protesting over a worsening economic crisis and shortages of essential goods amid skyrocketing prices and inflation. President Miguel Díaz-Canel blames ongoing U.S. sanctions.

Thousands of Cubans joined street protests in one of the largest anti-government demonstrations on the Communist-run island in memory, with many calling for an end to communism and chanting “Freedom,” “Enough,” and “Unite.”

Continuing U.S. sanctions tightened under former U.S. President Donald Trump, and the pandemic has exacerbated shortages of food and medicine, as well as power outages.

Hospitals and pharmacies are running out of medicines as fundamental as aspirin and penicillin. Cubans lucky enough to have foreign currency wait for hours for staples like beans and rice.

Cuba’s president, Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez -- the first person outside the Castro family to lead the country since the Cuban Revolution of 1953-59 -- blamed counter-revolutionaries for fomenting unrest. Díaz-Canel also called the demonstrations part of a campaign by Washington to exploit peoples’ “emotions.”

“We stand with the Cuban people and their clarion call for freedom,” U.S. President Biden said in a statement on Monday, calling Cuba’s government “an authoritarian regime”.

Biden’s remarks marked a notable shift in tone from the position advanced by former President Barack Obama, who lifted sanctions and restored relations with Havana.

At least 100 protesters, activists, and journalists had been detained nationwide since Sunday, according to rights group Cubalex. Some at the protests and others as they tried to leave their homes.

Sources
PUBLISHED: 13/07/2021; STORY: Graphic News; PICTURES: Associated Press
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