Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla has accused US-paid mercenaries of fomenting Sunday's mass protests across several Cuban cities, and blasted Washington's "hypocritical" reaction to the unrest, suggesting that if the Biden administration really wanted to "help" Cuba, it should lift its crushing sanctions.
"Yesterday's events in Cuba were not a social uprising, but disorder, disturbances caused by a communicational operation that had been prepared for some time and to which millions of dollars had been committed," Rodriguez said in a televised address.
The diplomat slammed President Joe Biden's "cynicism and hypocrisy" in his recent remarks on Cuba, and his decision to "forget" to mention the ongoing US blockade of Cuba as the main cause of the island's difficult economic situation.
The foreign minister also went on Twitter to attack Biden's national security advisor Jake Sullivan over his tweet about US support for "freedom of expression and assembly across Cuba," in which Sullivan warned that the US would "strongly condemn any violence or targeting of peaceful protesters who are exercising their universal rights."
Sullivan, Rodriguez suggested, "has no political or moral authority to speak about Cuba," given that "his government has allocated hundreds of millions of dollars to promote subversion in our country" and its implementation of a "genocidal blockade, which is the main cause of economic scarcities."
The White House National Security Advisor has no political or moral authority to speak about Cuba.— Bruno Rodríguez P (@BrunoRguezP) July 12, 2021
His government has allocated hundreds of millions of dollars to promote subversion in our country & implements a genocidal blockade, which is the main cause of economic scarcities.
Also on Monday, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki suggested there was "every indication" that the weekend protests in Cuba were "spontaneous" and "inspired by the harsh realities of daily life" on the island nation, not by another country.
EU Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell, meanwhile, called on Havana to "allow peaceful demonstrations and to listen to the discontent being expressed by the demonstrators."
Several thousand people took to the streets across several Cuban cities on 11 July, with the protests reported to be triggered by food and medicine shortages. The protests were said to have begun as "spontaneous demonstrations" in a municipality outside Havana and in Palma Soriano, a city in the country's southeastern province of Santiago de Cuba.
Cuba has been embargoed by its northern US neighbour since the late 1950s revolution against US-backed dictator Fulgencio Batista by Fidel Castro and his band of leftist revolutionaries. Castro first sought to mend ties with Washington, but America's hostile response to his overtures, economic and political pressure, and eventually plots by the CIA to have him murdered pushed him into the arms of the Soviet Union, which would spend several decades supporting Cuba militarily and allowing it to integrate into the Moscow-led Comecon economic alliance.
The Soviet collapse in 1991 left Cuba in a dire economic state, with Washington analysts smugly predicting the implosion of its communist government. This never happened, and Havana rode out the 90s 'special period' before striking new partnerships with Venezuela, China and Russia after the 2000s. The Obama administration took small steps to normalise ties, but the Trump administration reversed many of these efforts before branding Cuba as a part of a "troika of tyranny" alongside Venezuela and Nicaragua. Joe Biden has promised to continue the Obama-era approach, but has yet to do so. In the wake of Sunday's protests, the US president slammed Cuba's "authoritarian regime" and said the US stands "with the Cuban people and their clarion call for freedom."