An equitable distribution of vaccines will stimulate the global economy.

An equitable distribution of vaccines will stimulate the global economy.

People raise anti-government slogans during a demonstration in Havana, Cuba, on July 11, 2021.

A month ago, thousands of brave Cubans took to the streets, saying, “Enough, enough.” NS Decades of anti-government protests Cuban citizens are frustrated by the inability of the government to meet the basic needs of the people amid epidemics, and of course the oppressive nature of the Cuban state. For the time being at least, the street protests have died down, but it’s still a dangerous time for the island: the Cuban people need the continued support of the international community and the continued support of the United States. Attention is needed.

Before the protests, the Cuban economy was in a deep depression. Economics made a deal. 11% Because of epidemics, such as tourism, which is a major source of income, has stopped. The faltering economy, due to continued economic mismanagement by the Cuban authorities, led to widespread shortages of food and medicine. All of this happened at a time when the Cuban government was struggling to deal with the Covid 19 infection, and at the same time, it was using its limited resources to develop a vaccine of its own. The effects of the pandemic have sparked growing calls from Cubans for economic and political reforms on the island. As a result, private Cuba, particularly Afro-Cubans, who suffer from structural racism, have almost no access to basic public goods and social services.

Fast forward to today: A month after the mass protests began, more than 500 people are still in detention for their role in the protests, and Cuba remains in constant danger of being next. Although the activity making headlines on the streets is over, the demands of the people remain. Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel, who became the Communist Party’s favorite leader in April, uses the same repressive tactics as his predecessors. Reports Miami Herald She pointed out that many detainees are being held in high-security prisons without their families being able to reach them.

The protesters have the support of many Cubans, both on the island and in southern Florida, which has sparked a new and tougher commitment from the United States government. After the protests, the Biden administration quickly intervened to reimpose sanctions on those responsible for the latest campaign. Also the Biden team. Summary of new methods Increased internet access across the island. staff increase At the US Embassy in Havana, we’re already exploring. Ways to allow transfers Leave the country without slowing down the pockets of the Cuban government. The Biden administration’s efforts appear to be heading toward final pressure on the Cuban government to accelerate long-overdue private sector reform and democratic change.

US policy toward Cuba has far-reaching implications for both countries. Countries in the region, where US policy toward Cuba has long been a contentious issue, are paying close attention to the US response to the protests. Several Caribbean and Latin American governments have regularly criticized the US trade embargo and supported Cuba, while others have expressed concern about the island’s approach to human rights. This division operates in multilateral forums such as the United Nations, with the United States and Israel only becoming two countries in June. Vote against the decision At the regional level, the head of the United States Permanent Council Organization recently had to call for the ban to be lifted. Postpone the meeting Many of the participating countries opposed the situation in Cuba because Cuba had long refused to join the group, so such a meeting “would serve no useful purpose.”

In the meantime, the United States will have to deal with the problems of Cuba’s access to its shores. With the deteriorating situation on the island, Cuba now The worst hot spots for COVID-19 In the United States, more Cubans are likely to reach the US border. Reports already indicate. Cubans have to risk their lives to reach Florida by boat or travel to Central America to the southwestern border of the United States.

The commitment of the United States to support the Cuban protesters, which the Biden administration has already demonstrated, must remain unwavering as the news cycle continues. Attempts to score political points on the political divisions of the United States and Cuban politics must not be made at the expense of the Cuban people. Demonstrators will be bolstered by ongoing US-backed demonstrations, from targeted sanctions to attempts to increase internet access, as a result of which Diaz-Kinel’s options will gradually be exhausted. This, in turn, could force him to ease economic sanctions, and empower people when the government fails to meet their basic needs — an important step toward greater political freedom.

The Cuban people are hungry and sick and will not be fed by violent repression. Arrest will not stop the spread of the epidemic. That is why the Cuban authorities must express their frustration and disappointment through these demonstrations. Suppressing the demands of freedom is one thing, but suppressing them along with the basic requirements of survival is another.

Change will not come overnight. But strong US support for Cuban protesters could make a real difference as the country enters a new era of uncertainty.

Jason Marzak is the director of the Adrian Ercht Latin America Center. Follow her on Twitter marjmarczak.

Wassim Mulla Adrian Arsht is the Deputy Director of the Caribbean Initiative for Central Latin America. Follow her on Twitter WMoula.

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