The United States has been urged by Washington to release approximately 700 individuals who were detained following widespread protests in 2021. The state-run Granma newspaper in Cuba published a front-page editorial on Monday, accusing the United States of having a “direct responsibility” for the protests that occurred on July 11 and 12, 2021. The editorial claimed that Cubans were paid by Washington to participate in violent acts, including robbery and assault.
The newspaper also alleged that a “campaign of disinformation and slander” was being spread on social media, which it attributed to the US policy of “maximum pressure” promoted by the White House. While President Joe Biden has mostly continued the hardline, maximum-pressure policies on Cuba implemented by his predecessor Donald Trump, his administration has eased some of the sanctions, including facilitating travel to Cuba for US citizens and allowing family remittances to the island.
In July 2021, there were mass protests in nearly 50 cities across Cuba, with many demonstrators demanding “freedom.” These protests were triggered by an economic crisis described as the worst the country has experienced in three decades. The financial difficulties in Cuba have been compounded by extensive, long-standing sanctions imposed by the United States, which, combined with the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, have further exacerbated the country’s challenges.
Cuba has also been grappling with fuel and medicine shortages, problems with food distribution, and deteriorating public transportation. According to US government data, at least 140,000 Cubans have migrated to the United States since October 2021 as a result of these challenges.
The US State Department has denied any involvement in the 2021 unrest and has called for the release of the approximately 700 individuals imprisoned for various charges related to the demonstrations, including sedition. The State Department has accused the Cuban regime of violently repressing any form of peaceful public dissent and of threatening the families of detained protestors who speak out about their loved ones’ detention.
The European Union (EU) has joined the United States in calling for the release of the protesters connected to the 2021 demonstrations. However, foreign relations expert Arturo Lopez-Levy believes that the United States’ hostile policies toward Cuba will make it very difficult to secure the release of the prisoners. He asserts that a climate conducive to reducing tensions on this issue has not been created.
In conclusion, the United States has been urged by Washington to release the approximately 700 individuals who were detained following the widespread protests in Cuba in 2021. The state-run Granma newspaper in Cuba has blamed the United States for its “direct responsibility” in inciting the protests and alleged that Cubans were paid by Washington to engage in violent acts. The US government, on the other hand, has denied any involvement in the unrest and has called for the release of the detained individuals. The European Union has also voiced support for the release of the protesters. However, the release of the prisoners may be challenging due to the ongoing hostile policies between the United States and Cuba.