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Rare demonstrations have erupted in Cuba as the country grapples with an ongoing economic crisis.

President Miguel Diaz-Canel has urged for calm following protests in Santiago, Cuba’s second-largest city, where citizens voiced their frustrations over severe power outages and food scarcities. Crowds were chanting for “Power and food,” highlighting the acute challenges faced by the island nation.

The protests stem from a series of blackouts, some lasting over 18 hours, exacerbating food distribution issues and the difficult economic situation. Cuba’s financial struggles are deeply rooted, aggravated by longstanding US trade embargoes and intensified by sanctions under former President Donald Trump’s administration.

In response to the unrest, Diaz-Canel advocated for dialogue and peace, acknowledging the public’s grievances regarding the electricity and food supply chain. On the social media platform X, he said the government was committed to addressing these concerns through communication and efforts to stabilize the situation. The president also attributed the protests to manipulations by Cuba’s adversaries (namely the United States), labeling them as efforts by “mediocre politicians and terrorists” to exploit the demonstrations for their agendas.

This comes as the US embassy in Havana has called for the Cuban government to respect the human rights of protesters and to meet the needs of its people.


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