Cuban president admits government partly to blame for shortages that sparked protests

The Cuban government originally blamed social media and the U.S. for the protests.
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Demonstrations in Havana on July 11
Demonstrations in Havana on July 11
(Yamil Lage/AFP via Getty Images)

Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel is acknowledging his government had shortcomings in its handling of the recent life-essential shortages that sparked large protests this week across the country.

"We have to gain experience from the disturbances," Diaz-Canel said Wednesday, after initially blaming the U.S. and social media for the protests that started Sunday and now largely appear stifled.

"We also have to carry out a critical analysis of our problems in order to act and overcome, and avoid their repetition," the president also said.

The protests were the largest in the communist-run country in 30 years. Residents protested the shortage of COVID-19 vaccines and long food lines.

The Associated Press reports dozens of protesters were arrested, and officials reported one death. There were also incidents of looting and rioting.

The largest of the protests were on Sunday, followed by smaller ones Monday in 35 cities across Cuba.