Cuba responds to protests over shortages

On March 17, small groups of Cubans protested shortages of electricity, water and food in areas of Cuba. Addressing the shortages in an interview with NBC, the country’s President Miguel Díaz-Canel  said the events were exaggerated out of proportion, and that the protests were peaceful and used by U.S. social media as a “scenario to look like serious events were happening.” (

Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel blasts interventionist U.S. for protests over shortages. Havana, Cuba, March 19, 2024.

Blackouts caused by maintenance work on the Antonio Guiteras Thermoelectric Power Plant, Cuba’s largest plant, left sectors of Cuba without electricity for 14 hours, but it was restored later in the day.

Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez called on Washington to not “interfere in the country’s internal affairs.” He blamed Sunday’s demonstrations and Cuba’s “acute economic situation” on the over 60-year U.S. trade embargo and sanctions.

The U.S. uses food and starvation as a weapon in Cuba and in the U.S./Israeli genocidal war on Palestine. The U.S. is responsible for causing Palestinians to starve or leave the country. At least 576,000 people in Gaza — one-quarter of the population — are one step away from famine.

Most Cubans understand that it is the protracted U.S. blockade of Cuba which is causing the severe food, medical and supply shortages, with the aim of forcing Cubans to overthrow their government.

Díaz-Canel accused the U.S. of always looking for justifications and turning things around. He said similar protests in the U.S. and other parts of the world are more severe and more severely repressed, “However, those in Cuba make headlines. Why? Because there is an entire perversity when it comes to dealing with the Cuban problem.” He said the U.S. has shown an “enormous contempt for the Cuban people and the Cuban revolution.”

Díaz-Canel said the U.S. “resorts to a policy of maximum pressure, which has two fundamental elements, through economic asphyxiation to provoke a social explosion that breaks the unity of the Cuban people with the revolution,” and “social media intoxication,” which is what happened on March 17.

Díaz-Canel ended: “Let them try to bring us down. They’ll see what will happen to them. The revolution is very solid, and the Cuban people are very aware of what it would mean to lose the revolution.”

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