Biden calls on Cuban government to listen to protesters

President BidenJoe BidenUS threatens sweeping export controls against Russian industries Headaches intensify for Democrats in Florida US orders families of embassy staff in Ukraine to leave country MORE on Monday said the Cuban government must respect the rights of its people and that he stands with demonstrators on the island, a day after thousands of people took to the streets of Havana in what is thought to be one of the largest anti-government protests in recent memory. 

“The Cuban people are bravely asserting fundamental and universal rights. Those rights, including the right of peaceful protest and the right to freely determine their own future, must be respected,” Biden said in a statement.

“The United States calls on the Cuban regime to hear their people and serve their needs at this vital moment rather than enriching themselves,” he added. 

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The protests against Cuba's Communist government spread across the country on Sunday, following a rise in COVID-19 infections and deaths and an ensuing economic crisis. 

Hundreds of people in Miami’s Little Havana neighborhood also protested on Sunday in solidarity with the Cuban people.

Biden also said the U.S. stands “with the Cuban people and their clarion call for freedom and relief from the tragic grip of the pandemic and from the decades of repression and economic suffering to which they have been subjected by Cuba's authoritarian regime.”

Republican lawmakers have called on the Biden administration to do more to support the Cuban people.

“The American people stand squarely with the men and women of Cuba and their noble fight for liberty, and the Biden administration must unequivocally and forcefully tell the world as much  immediately,” Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzHillicon Valley — Senate panel advances major antitrust bill Senate panel advances bill blocking tech giants from favoring own products Lawmakers press Biden admin to send more military aid to Ukraine MORE (R-Texas) said in a statement on Monday. 

Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioPut partisan politics aside — The Child Tax Credit must be renewed immediately These Senate seats are up for election in 2022 Lawmakers press Biden admin to send more military aid to Ukraine MORE (R-Fla.) called out Biden on Sunday for not speaking out about the protests in Cuba. 

“The people of #Cuba bravely take to the streets against 62 years of socialist tyranny,” he tweeted. “12 hours later President @joebiden @POTUS has yet to say a word about it.”