Cuban president rejects U.S. ‘failed state’ accusations

Cuba's President Miguel Diaz-Canel talks to the media, in San Antonio de los Banos
FILE PHOTO: Cuba’s President Miguel Diaz-Canel (C) talks to the media, in San Antonio de los Banos, Cuba July 11, 2021. REUTERS/Alexandre Meneghini

July 16, 2021

HAVANA (Reuters) – Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel said on Friday the United States, not Cuba, was a failed state, reacting to comments made the previous day by U.S. President Joe Biden in the wake of unprecedented protests on the island.

Biden called the Communist-run country a “failed state” that is “repressing their citizens”, dashing hopes he could lift crippling sanctions any time soon that have contributed to Cuba’s worst econonomic crisis in decades.

Biden, a Democrat, had vowed during his presidential campaign to ease some of the sanctions on Cuba tightened by his predecessor Donald Trump, a Republican. But analysts say the protests have complicated his political leeway to do so.

“A failed state is that which, to please a reactionary and blackmailing minority, is capable of doing damage to 11 million humans,” Diaz-Canel wrote on Twitter

Cuban officials and many analysts charge that U.S. policy on Cuba is driven by the anti-Communist Cuban-American community that has a strong influence on the swing state of Florida, not the interests of the Cuban people.

Cuba’s government has accused the United States of being behind the protests that erupted nationwide on Sunday – an rare occurrence where public dissent is restricted – by financing counterrevolutionaries to foment unrest.

“The United States has failed in its attempts to destroy Cuba despite spending billions of dollars in its attempts to do so,” Diaz-Canel said in his Twitter thread, also lambasting Washington over its high COVID-19 death toll, police violence, racism and “shameful record of wars”.

(Reporting by Sarah Marsh; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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