Cuban President slams social media “hate” after protest | Latin American News

Havana, Cuba The Cuban government held a large-scale rally on Havana’s famous seaside boulevard Malecon in the early hours of Saturday morning. A week of turmoil This triggered a series of international criticisms.

The government said the number of people who gathered for the “Revolutionary Reaffirmation Act” in the Cuban capital was 100,000. They arrived on the highway near the US Embassy before the sun rose. Other rallies were held across the country.

People came in by buses and trucks and heard the music of Silvio Rodriguez, one of the few people. Famous Cuban Musician Don’t criticize the government for its fierce response to last week’s protests.

“I’m here to support the Cuban revolution,” Elaine Lance told Al Jazeera. “Supporting me as a representative of young Cubans and expressing my dissatisfaction with the violent protests in our country.”

Those protests Started last sunday In the town of San Antonio de los Banos. Residents were angry at the hours of suspension, but because of their anger, people quickly flooded the streets of the island. Months of food and medicine shortages.

People attend a rally in Havana [Alexandre Meneghin/Reuters]

Police car overturned, Some annoying MLC shops where the necessities can only be purchased in foreign currency were looted, and clashes with police and government supporters broke out.

The state’s response — arrested hundreds of protesters, including protesters who were pulled from the crowd and detained, and their families were not told where they were — won Reprimand Friday from the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

“All people detained for exercising their rights must be released immediately,” said Michelle Bachelet.

“Long Live Free Cuba”

Starting at 4:30 am on Saturday (08:30 GMT), people began to take a bus from the local party headquarters to the Vedado community in Havana to participate in the rally. They held party flags, banners and placards, displaying revolutionary heroes such as Fidel Castro and Che Guevara.

Fidel’s 90-year-old brother Raul Castro (Raul Castro) Step down In April, he served as the first secretary of the Communist Party of China. He appeared but did not speak. Instead, the microphone was handed over to his successor, Miguel Diaz-Canel.

“Long live free Cuba,” Diaz-Canel yelled before attacking social media. The government restricted access to social media most of the last week.

“Hate robs us of time to love. We experienced this on social media last week. The owners of these networks, the dictators of these algorithms, have opened up their platforms to hatred without the slightest moral problem. ,”He says.

“Long live free Cuba,” Diaz-Canel yelled, then launched a violent attack on social media [Alexandre Meneghini/Reuters]

“This kind of hatred breaks up friends, family, and society, and may render many of our values ??useless.”

Compared with the protests last weekend, the crowd on Saturday is older. People are called up by their workplaces, and many people wear T-shirts from state-owned companies, such as oil dealer CUPET. Others chanted pro-Cuban slogans.

Despite this, there were young people who participated in the rally, including 27-year-old Kenneth Fowler, who told Al Jazeera that he was a professor at the University of Havana and came with students from the Department of Chemistry.

“Last weekend, we tried to endanger the safety of our society,” he said. “This is part of a larger attack by the US government and the capitalist system. The president called on people to stand up and defend our achievements. So that’s why I am here.”

On Thursday night, at a press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, US President Joe Biden made it clear that he will continue Donald Trump’s policy of rejecting Cuban remittances by continuing to block remittances from relatives abroad. . Bachelet of the United Nations also criticized the 60-year embargo imposed by the United States.

COVID-19 infection

At the same time, the news of the rally drew criticism from those who have been following. COVID-19 has flooded every corner of the islandThe average number of new cases per day has exceeded 6,000, and hospitals in many provinces are overwhelmed.

Amilcar Perez Riverol, a postdoctoral fellow in molecular biology at the State University of Sao Paulo in Brazil and a veteran of the Cuban laboratory, has always been a staunch supporter of Cuban health workers and scientists because they are fighting the virus. Self-developed vaccine.

He said on Twitter that for a country that currently ranks fifth in the world in the number of infections per capita and number one in Latin America, the decision to rally appears to be disastrous.

“These rallies are not good news for controlling the current surge in Cuba. Not only because of the potential infection during the rallies, but also because of the messages they send,” Perez Riverol told Al Jazeera on Saturday.

But at Malecon, Fowler said that showing solidarity is too important to worry about the further spread of the virus. “We need to show our decision to fight together, which I think is more important,” he said. “Did you know? I didn’t hear anyone say this to the protesters last weekend.”

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