The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) said it has “taken note” of the protests taking place in Cuba and called for a “return to calm and peaceful assembly and dialogue”.
At least one person has died and more than 100 have been arrested, including independent journalists and opposition activists, with President Miguel Diaz-Canel denouncing the distribution of what he said were “false images” of the unrest that rocked the Spanish speaking communist island recently.
Thousands had joined in the biggest protests for decades last week complaining about the collapse of the economy, food and medicine shortages, price hikes and the government’s handling of coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
“The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) has taken note of the protests taking place in Cuba brought about by socio-economic challenges, further exacerbated by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact of natural hazards,” the Guyana-based CARICOM Secretariat said in a statement.
It said the 15-member regional grouping “calls for the cessation of violence and vandalism and for a return to calm and peaceful assembly and dialogue.
“The Community reiterates its calls for the immediate lifting of the trade, financial and economic sanctions as recently reiterated by the United Nations General Assembly,” it added.
St Vincent and the Grenadines, and Barbados have issued separate statements urging The United States to lift the decades old trade and economic embargo on Cuba which they blame for the socio-economic problems in the country.
“All the Embargo has achieved is an unjustified punishment of Cuba and unleashed a series of painful outcomes for its people. It has not succeeded in isolating Cuba from the rest of right-thinking nations in the international community,” said Barbados Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Dr Jerome Walcott.
St Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves rejected completely what he termed “the attempts by certain unprincipled forces” to reverse the Cuban Revolution.