By Shikema Dey
As a massive protest rages in Cuba over the government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and the state of the country’s economy, Cubans residing in Guyana on Monday held a peaceful demonstration in front of the Cuban Embassy in solidarity with those back home.
While the protestors chanted in their native tongue, one protestor held a placard that stated “…the healthcare system is a disaster and the hospitals have collapsed.”
Rodriguez Fomenta, pastor at the Spanish-speaking Central Baptist Church told the media that the protest demonstrates that people in Cuba need “freedom.”
“People took to the streets, asking for freedom, asking for food asking for medicine…we are here in front the Embassy in support of Havana, they are the representatives of Cubans in the government..,” Fomenta stated.
“We are here for freedom,” said another protester, “against repression for our people in Cuba.”
Cuba is said to be in the midst of an economic crisis, facing a further double whammy from the COVID-19 pandemic and sanctions from the United States government.
A BBC report published on Monday said that dozens of anti-government protesters were arrested by security forces who were assisted by plainclothes officers.
Protesters shouted “freedom” and “down with the dictatorship” in demonstrations all across Cuba including the capital Havana.
US President Joe Biden weighed in on the chaos and called on the Cuban regime to “hear their people and serve their needs at this vital moment rather than enriching themselves.’
“We stand with the Cuban people and their clarion call for freedom and relief from the tragic grip of the pandemic and from the decades of repression and economic suffering to which they have been subjected by Cuba’s authoritarian regime. The Cuban people are bravely asserting fundamental and universal rights.
“Those rights, including the right of peaceful protest and the right to freely determine their own future, must be respected,” a post from President Biden’s official Facebook page stated.