After over 60 years of Castro’s strict regime, the Cuban people have had enough and have begun to protest. The combination of an economic crisis and the pandemic’s hardships led to these protests. The Cuban government has responded harshly to these protestors by halting telephone and internet capabilities on the island and by deploying military and police to the streets. According to the Washington Post, over 100 Cuban protesters have been arrested.
The Cuban government and Prime Minister Manuel Marrero attempted to stop the chaos by allowing goods brought to the island that would no longer have to be subjected to customs duties in an effort to give the people what they wanted. This response was prompted when the people of Cuba demanded a solution to the food and medical services shortages.
Throughout the protests, many Cubans were heard singing a popular Afro-Cuban reggaeton and hip-hop song that was released in February of this year called “Patria y Vida,” which directly translates to homeland and life. The song was performed by Yotuel Romero, Alexander Delgado, Maykel Osorbo and El Funky.
“No more lies. My people demand freedom. No more doctrines,” were just a few lyrics from the song that advocates for the Cuban people.
The situation in Cuba reflects the longstanding difficult relationship that the U.S. has had with the Carribean country. Since the Cuban missile crisis, the U.S. has had a rocky relationship with Cuba. It could all be up in the air again, according to President Biden.
“There are a number of things that we would consider doing to help the people of Cuba, but it would require a different circumstance or a guarantee that they would not be taken advantage of by the government,” President Biden said at a press conference. “For example, the ability to send remittances back to Cuba – we would not do that now because, the fact is, it’s highly likely the regime would confiscate those remittances or big chunks of it.”
Remittances are the practice of U.S. residents sending money to their relatives in foreign countries. President Biden is worried that if the U.S. allows people to send money to relatives in Cuba by halting the internet censorship that the Cuban regime enacted, the government would steal the money.
To further the conflict between the U.S. and Cuba, President Miguel Díaz-Canel stated in a press conference that sanctions placed on Cuba by the U.S. were the reason for the economic conditions on the island.
Previously, under President Obama’s administration, the relationship between Cuba and the U.S. was slightly less chaotic. U.S. embassies in Cuba were opened, and tourism to the island was allowed. After the administration of President Trump took away those liberties and placed harsher rules on Cuba, the current Biden administration hasn’t acted to remove the rules.
The problems between Cuba and the U.S. aren’t likely to dissipate soon. There were even protests calling for President Biden to help the Cuban people here in Orlando on Semoran Boulevard. Florida has the largest concentration of Cuban-Americans who naturally want to see their island survive and prosper.