Black Lives Matter (BLM) is speaking out in support of the people of Cuba, while condemning what it says is the United States federal government’s “inhumane treatment” of the residents of the island nation.
In a lengthy statement posted on Instagram on Wednesday, the organization wrote, “Black Lives Matter condemns the U.S. federal government’s inhumane treatment of Cubans, and urges it to immediately lift the economic embargo.”
“This cruel and inhumane policy, instituted with the explicit intention of destabilizing the country and undermining Cubans’ right to choose their own government, is at the heart of Cuba’s current crisis,” the statement added. “Since 1962, the United States has forced pain and suffering on the people of Cuba by cutting off food, medicine and supplies, costing the tiny island nation an estimated $130 billion.”
“The people of Cuba are being punished by the U.S. government because the country has maintained its commitment to sovereignty and self-determination. United States leaders have tried to crush this Revolution for decades. Instead of international amity, respect, and goodwill, the U.S. government has only instigated suffering for the country’s 11 million people — of which 4 million are Black and brown.”
Finally, BLM called on President Joe Biden to end the economic embargo, which it called a “blatant human rights violation.”
Read the statement below:
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In recent days, Cubans have taken to the streets to protest a lack of food and medical supplies and energy shortages. NPR reports that protesters have also been calling for political changes and a faster pace of vaccinations against COVID-19.
While the Cuban government initially blamed social media and the U.S. sanctions for the protests, Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel admitted that the island nation’s government’s failings in handling the problems facing the nation also played a role in the protests.
“We have to gain experience from the disturbances. We also have to carry out a critical analysis of our problems in order to act and overcome, and avoid their repetition,” he said during a televised address on Wednesday.
As thousands of Cubans have taken to the streets, some have called for the end to the economic embargo, which they argue would help ease the shortages.
NBC News reports that “the embargo is not solely to blame for Cuba’s woes. One of the most important factors that has led to years of economic stagnation is the country’s Soviet-style, centrally planned economy and its hesitation to adopt market-oriented reforms that other remaining communist countries have taken.”
A recent Bendixen & Amandi International poll found that 66% of Cuban-Americans in Florida say they support the economic embargo on the island nation. Additionally, the respondents said they oppose efforts to re-engage with Cuba’s government.
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