Black Lives Matter is blaming the U.S. government’s “cruel and inhumane” economic embargo for the current unrest in Cuba, while praising the communist regime for its “solidarity” by granting asylum to “black revolutionaries.”
The Marxist organization has faced strong criticism since posting a statement on July 14 in response to protests that have erupted in multiple cities across Cuba, where demonstrators have called for greater freedoms and an end to leader Miguel Díaz-Canel’s authoritarian regime.
In the note that was posted to its social media profiles, the group condemned the 1962 U.S. embargo, claiming it was instituted with the “explicit intention” to destabilize Cuba and “undermine the right of Cubans to choose their own government.”
“Black Lives Matter condemns the U.S. federal government’s inhumane treatment of Cubans and urges it to immediately lift the economic embargo,” the group wrote. “This cruel and inhumane policy, instituted with the explicit intention of destabilizing the country and undermining Cubans’ right to choose their own government, is at the heart of Cuba’s current crisis.”
The largest protest that the communist-controlled country has seen in decades erupted over the weekend after citizens rallied against ongoing shortages of food and other goods, high prices, and power cuts, amid a deep economic crisis in the country, made worse by CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus pandemic-related lockdowns.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who rejected the claim that the United States is to blame for Cuba’s unrest, said on July 12 that the main factor that has led people to the streets lies with the mismanaged economy of the nation and the communist regime’s failure to supply its citizens with basic needs.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), among other officials, also rebuked the group for the claim.
“The extortionist ring known as the Black Lives Matter organization took a break today from shaking down corporations for millions & buying themselves mansions to share their support for the Communist regime in #Cuba,” the Florida senator said on social media.
Cuban leader Díaz-Canel in a televised address on July 14 conceded that government shortcomings in handling shortages and other problems played a role in the protests, while also urging Cubans to not act with hate.
Before his announcement, the Cuban regime had only blamed social media and the U.S. government for the protests, which were the biggest in Cuba since a quarter-century ago, when then-leader Fidel Castro personally went into the streets to calm crowds of thousands furious over dire shortages following the collapse of the Soviet Union and its economic subsidies for the island.
The BLM statement—which was posted around the same time as Díaz-Canel commented about the revolt—was quickly disputed online, including by the group’s own followers, urging them to take the post down.
“Very disappointing and uninformed statement,” one person wrote. Another said BLM’s view of Cuba’s situation is “a horrible misrepresentation of what’s happening.”
In the note, BLM also praised the communist regime for its “historically demonstrated solidarity with oppressed peoples of African descent” and “protecting black revolutionaries” such as Assata Shakur, also known as JoAnne Chesimard, a former member of the Black Liberation Army who escaped from prison in 1979 while serving life for the execution-style murder of a New Jersey state trooper; she was granted asylum by Castro. She remains one of the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorists.
BLM, known for organizing protests against police brutality in the United States, didn’t mention Cubans’ calls for “freedom” against an oppressive regime and widespread reports of police brutality, sparking controversy.
“Disgusting! Despite the Cuban dictatorship’s murdering and beating of protestors (many of them black), BLM’s statement on Cuba … condemns the US, praises the Castro regime, and makes no mention of the atrocities being committed by the dictatorship,” said Giancarlo Sopo, a communication strategist who once worked on President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign.