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Biden on Monday praised ant-government protestors in Cuba for their bravery.
"The United States calls on the Cuban regime to hear their people," Biden said.
The protests in Cuba marked the largest demonstrations the country has seen in years.
President Joe Biden on Monday showered praise on the mass anti-government demonstrations that occurred in Cuba the day prior, with thousands of people flooding the country's streets in the largest protests the island has seen in decades.
"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.
The president went on to say that Cubans are "bravely asserting fundamental and universal rights," adding that those rights "including the right of peaceful protest and the right to freely determine their own future, must be respected."
"The United States calls on the Cuban regime to hear their people and serve their needs at this vital moment rather than enriching themselves," Biden said.
The protests against food and medicine shortages erupted in cities across Cuba on Sunday.
Demonstrators could be heard chanting "freedom" and "down with the dictatorship," per BBC News.
There was a heavy police presence in Havana and multiple arrests, according to on-the-ground coverage from CNN reporter Patrick Oppman, as well as pro-government counter-protests.
-Patrick Oppmann CNN (@CNN_Oppmann) July 12, 2021
-Matthew Yglesias (@mattyglesias) July 11, 2021
Such demonstrations in Cuba are rare, as the Cuban Communist government has a well-documented record of engaging in brutal crackdowns on dissent. Miguel Díaz-Canel, who took over from Fidel Castro's brother Raúl as the first secretary of the Communist Party in April, is the first leader of the country from outside the Castro family since the 1959 revolution.
The last time a protest on this scale occurred in Cuba was during the Maleconazo uprising in 1994, which was followed by a massive exodus of more than 35,000 Cubans.
-The Recount (@therecount) July 12, 2021
Reiterating his support for the Cuban people in comments to reporters on Monday afternoon, Biden said, "The Cuban people are demanding their freedom from an authoritarian regime. I don't think we've seen anything like these protests in a long long time if, quite frankly, ever."
"The US stands firmly with the people of Cuba as they assert their universal rights," Biden said. "And we call on the government of Cuba to refrain from violence in their attempt to silence the voices of the people of Cuba."
Read the original article on Business Insider