Cuba, a Caribbean country, is facing popular protests as the scarcity of basic needs within the country soars amid the rising economic woes.
As the Cuban government launches a crackdown on the protestors, arresting many of them, the United States has sanctioned Cuban officials under the violation of human rights, a step that will further deteriorate US-Cuba relations.
Cuba is going through its worst economic crisis in decades. A lack of food, medicine, and gasoline has left people utterly desperate and frustrated.
All of this, coupled with the pandemic, made matters worse, not to mention the social upheaval that was triggered due to the electricity blackouts in the middle of summer.
The US is Launching an All-Out Assault on Cuban Regime
The US Treasury Department imposed sanctions on Cuba’s security minister and a Special Forces unit of the interior ministry for human rights violations.
President Joe Biden’s administration took the moves to exert pressure on the regime, as US politicians and the Cuban-American community pushed for the US to demonstrate greater support for the protestors.
Expressing his concerns about the Cuban misery and talking about sanctions, Biden said that “This is just the beginning.”
As Kamala Harris also reiterated her support about the sanctions, the latest hit on the Cuban regime had sidelined Biden’s campaign promise that he would reconsider sanctions on the island after coming to power.
The Social Upheaval of Cuba: The US Must Reconsider its Policy
US-Cuba relations have been deteriorating since Fidel Castro led a revolution in 1959, toppling a US-backed Cuban regime and establishing a communist state linked to the Soviet Union.
President John F. Kennedy carried out a plot known as the “Bay of Pigs Invasion” to depose Fidel Castro by dispatching a squad of 1400 Cuban exiles, backed by the CIA.
This plan turned out to be a complete debacle, as the island’s military overpowered the unit in just three days.
Raul Castro became president in 2006, following the retirement of his brother Fidel Castro after 49 years of rule. After gaining office, Raul signaled to end hostility with America.
According to a poll conducted in 2008, Cuban-Americans living in Miami were in favor of ending the US embargo on Cuba.
After taking office, President Barack Obama began easing travel and remittance restrictions. Raul Castro embraced the changes and showed a willingness to initiate reforms.
In 2014, US President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro restored diplomatic ties, ending more than five decades of strained relations. Lifting Cuba from the terrorist sponsor’s list, the governments of Washington and Havana re-established their embassies.
However, all of this proved to be a short-term relief as former President Donald Trump re-announced Cuban restrictions in his bid of America first.
He reversed the Obama-era policy after assuming the office of president in 2016. After an unexplained medical condition, multiple officials complained of dizziness and headaches related to the so-called “Havana Syndrome.” White House declared that the majority of the embassy staff would be removed from Havana.
Later on, the Trump administration put a trade embargo on Cuba and banned remittances and travel.
The Country is Gasping for Oxygen Due to US Sanctions
Angry Cubans flocked the streets of the island to express their disapproval of the government.
This communist party is certainly not a fan of these mass protests, which is forcing them to curb the protests.
Security officers patrol the streets in large numbers during the demonstrations while clashing with enraged marchers who hurl stones at them.
To curb the protesting voices, the government has launched a digital crackdown by restricting several internet sites while banning the internet altogether in many places.
Cuba accuses the United States of fomenting instability in the island through its long-term sanctions.
As President Biden is under pressure from the progressive faction, which has often championed the human rights issues, to reverse Trump’s imposed sanctions on Cuba, the implementation of more curbs will make the situation even worse.
In response, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the Cuban regime is solely responsible for its own failures. They are just not hearing the voices and will of the Cuban people. Antony Bilnken stated that people were deeply tired of the tyranny that has lasted for far too long.
The embargo imposed by the United States plays a significant role in troubling the situation in the Caribbean nation.
Trump cut off the flow of remittances to Cuba from Cuban Americans, costing the country almost $3.5 billion of foreign remittances per year.
Around 60% of Cuban families had their living standards impacted by the sanctions.
Resultantly, the Cuban government ended up with lesser cash in hand to buy important commodities for daily use.
These tensions and grievances within society were expected to bubble to the surface in one form or another.
The President of Cuba, Miguel Diaz-Canel, blamed the US economic restrictions for draining the island.
President Diaz insisted the United States has been enforcing policies that violate the human rights of an entire nation for more than 60 years.
Diaz blamed the US for amplifying the agitators in the midst of the pandemic and now wants to portray themselves as the great savior. He asked the US to lift the blockade, as well as the 243 sanctions, and see how things progress.
The White House has imposed additional sanctions on Cuba as a result of the crackdown on protests. Joe Biden expressed support for the demonstrators, stating that the US stands solidly with Cuba’s people in safeguarding their rights.
Biden urged that the Cuban government should avoid using violence and attempts to silence the general public.
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