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Squad of lawmakers mum on Cuban protests as communist regime slams demonstrators

Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel referred to the protesters calling for freedom as "shameful delinquents" who are attempting to "fracture" the Communist Party in the country.

Published: July 12, 2021 4:38pm

Updated: July 13, 2021 2:34pm

Members of the progressive Squad in the House of Representatives have still not publicly commented on the protests happening across Cuba as the nation's president, who is the head of the Communist Party, condemned the demonstrators.

Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel referred to the protestors calling for freedom as "shameful delinquents" who are attempting to "fracture" the Communist Party in the country.

The protests broke out over the weekend. As of Monday evening, the social media channels for Reps. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Cori Bush of Missouri did not contain any posts about the Cuba uprising.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, the chairman of the Senate Budget Committee and a former Democratic presidential candidate, did not release a public statement on the protests either. Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist, was asked about Cuba around 5pm on Monday after meeting with Biden at the White House on infrastructure.

In the past, Sanders said that not everything in Cuba is bad under the regime. The Independent senator who caucuses with the Democrats was asked if he still shares the same sentiment.

"I support, throughout Latin America and in Cuba and every place else, the right of people to protest for a decent economy and for political freedom, absolutely,” he responded.

When asked if he discussed Cuba with Biden, Sanders said, “No, look, my main focus right now and what I’m spending all of my time on is the reconciliation bill.” 

Reacting to the demonstrations, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tweeted a statement of support: "The call for freedom and basic rights by the people of Cuba peacefully taking to the streets and marching is an act of great courage. I support the Cuban people in their pursuit of liberty and condemn any violence or targeting of those exercising their rights."

President Joe Biden said that "the Cuban people are bravely asserting fundamental and universal rights."

Republican lawmakers have been outspoken in defense of the protesters.

"Socialism promises guaranteed food, medicine & income if you give up your freedom," Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio tweeted on Monday morning. "When, as always, it fails to deliver you don't get your freedom back."

Tennessee Sen. Marsha Blackburn said that "the Cuban people are exemplifying great bravery as they take on their abusive communist regime."

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz wrote on Twitter that "there's no doubt the Communist Cuban regime will be consigned to the dustbin of history — where despots and dictators are not absolved for the suffering they inflicted on their citizens."

Díaz-Canel blamed U.S. sanctions for the economic problems in Cuba during an interview on state-controlled TV. Rubio responded to that argument on his Twitter account.

"Who prohibits fishermen & farmers from selling food?" Rubio wrote in response. "Who prohibits owning a business? Who takes 10% of $ sent by relatives & converts remainder into worthless currency? Who built luxury resorts for tourists but left crumbling homes for Cubans? The socialist regime."

Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido said he was "threatened" with arrest at his apartment building by security forces. Rubio said this incident is "directly related" to protests in Cuba. 

"While the socialists regime in #Cuba is attacking unarmed protestors, the socialist regime in #Venezuela is at this very moment moving to abduct President @jguaido," Rubio wrote. "This is directly linked to the protests in #Cuba & fear of it spreading to #Venezuela."

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