Supporters of the communist regime took to the streets in Cuba on Saturday, waving Cuban flags and carrying photos of communist revolutionary Fidel Castro, including both President Miguel Díaz-Canel and his predecessor Raúl Castro. The demonstration stands in opposition to recent protests calling for freedom from the regime.
According to Reuters, thousands attended the government-organized rally in Havana — Cuba’s capital city – to condemn the trade embargo imposed by the United States and show support for Cuba’s communist regime.
President Miguel Diaz-Canel, who is also leader of Cuba’s Communist Party, told the demonstrators that the island nation’s “enemy has once again thrown itself into destroying citizen’s sacred unity and tranquility.”
“We convened you to denounce once more the blockade, the aggression and terror,” he continued.
Similar pro-government rallies were held across Cuba over the weekend, according to authorities.
“This revolution will continue for a long time,” said Margaritza Arteaga, a state social worker who was present at the Havana demonstration. Arteaga said workers had been gathered by the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution, and a state bus transported her to the rally at 4 a.m.
The pro-communist rally took place days after thousands protested the ruling Communist Party. According to the BBC, protesters were heard chanting “Freedom” and “Down with communism” as they filled the streets.
Just before the government rally, a man shouting “freedom” was reportedly removed from the crowd. The rights group Cubalex reported at least 450 protesters have been detained by the Cuban regime, but some have already been released.
Videos emerging from protests throughout the country also showed demonstrators storming Communist Party offices and turning over vehicles of the country’s Revolutionary National Police.
Cuban-American conservative political strategist Giancarlo Sopo tweeted, “Holy shit! Pro-democracy protestors just flipped a National Revolutionary police car in Camagüey. I have never seen anything like this. #SOSCuba #PatriaYVida.”
Another Twitter used shared videos showing law enforcement joining in the demonstrations, writing, “In some parts of the country, police and special forces have taken the People’s side and joined the protests This is the beginning of the end for this Tyrannical rule @DiazCanelB is the latest puppet from the monsters who’ve forced Cuba to endure such suffering since 1959.”
In an apparent response to the demonstrations, Cuba announced Wednesday that it was temporarily withdrawing restrictions on how much food and medicine travelers could bring into Cuba, Reuters reported.
On Monday, President Joe Biden shared a message of support for Cubans protesting their government.
“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,” Biden said in a statement provided to American Military News.