Cuba blames unrest on U.S. interference as Biden backs protests

Cuba Monday blamed the historic protests that took place from Havana to Santiago over the weekend on the U.S. embargo with the Caribbean island nation.

Thousands chanted “freedom” and called on President Miguel Diaz-Canel to step down in the biggest anti-government demonstrations on the Communist-run island in decades.

From the White house, U.S. President Joe Biden Monday threw his support behind the protesters.

"The United States stands firmly with the people of Cuba as they assert their universal rights and we call on the government of Cuba to refrain from violence and attempts to silence the voice of the people of Cuba."

At the same time, Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel attacked what he called Washington's hypocrisy for expressing concern when it was fueling the crisis in Cuba with its trade embargo.

"Is it not very hypocritical and cynical that you block me and you want to present yourself as the big savior? Lift the blockade and then we will see what Cubans are capable of."

The United States had tightened sanctions on Cuba under Trump, Biden's predecessor, including restricting crucial remittances in the middle of the global health crisis.

Biden campaigned on easing sanctions but has yet to do so.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador backed Cuba, saying the U.S. economic embargo should be ended.

The protests erupted amid Cuba's deepest economic crisis since the fall of the Soviet Union and a surge in infections that has pushed some hospitals to the edge of collapse in a country that prides itself on its healthcare system.