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Others, however, blamed the American trade embargo for the protests and hardships the Cuban government represented on Sunday when the demonstrations broke out.
“The truth is that if you want to help Cuba, the first thing that should be done is unblock it, as most countries in the world are demanding,” Mexico President Andrés Manuel López Obrador told reporters on Monday. “That would be a truly humanitarian gesture.”
But some Cuban activists in the United States, including those who oppose the embargo, were quick to question this narrative.
“There is no food, there is no medicine, there is nothing, and that is not a product of the American embargo, which I do not support,” said Ramón Saúl Sánchez, president of the Movimiento Democracia advocacy group in Miami. He pointed out that the embargo allowed Cuba to buy food from the United States, although the restrictions on funding pose significant barriers to volume.
The scale of the demonstrations on Sunday, which took place across the country, stunned longtime Cuba analysts. It reflects how bad life has got in Cuba in recent months as the pandemic is draining vital tourism revenue from the island, straining the health system, stalling electricity grids and skyrocketing staple food prices like rice and beans fast.
“There are very long lines in front of supermarkets,” said Katrin Hansing, an anthropologist at Baruch College in New York, who did research in Havana for much of the past year, these days. “The same goes for medicine. There is nothing: there is no penicillin, there are no antibiotics, there is no aspirin. There is really nothing. “
Videos of protesters denouncing the lack of electricity and basic services spread on social media on Monday.