President Biden on Monday expressed support for the people of Cuba and Haiti amid unrest in both countries

“The Cuban people are demanding their freedom from an authoritarian regime. I don’t think we’ve seen anything like these protests in a long, long time if, quite frankly, ever,” Biden told reporters in his first on-camera remarks since demonstrations broke out on the island nation over the weekend.

“The U.S. stands firmly with the people of Cuba as they assert their universal rights,” Biden said. “And we call on the government of Cuba to refrain from violence in their attempt to silence the voices of the people of Cuba.”

Hundreds of protesters spilled into the streets of Cuba on Sunday in demonstrations that went viral on social media. The protesters were pushing back against the country’s government as the island nation grapples with rising coronavirus infections and economic struggles.

Press secretary Jen Psaki said the administration is looking at how to deliver coronavirus vaccines to the country and expressed support for what she called “spontaneous expressions” of protest. But she would not say whether the Biden administration is prepared to reverse the Trump administration’s policies that cracked down on U.S.-Cuba relations.

Meanwhile, Biden also offered solidarity with the people of Haiti as the island country deals with the fallout of the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse.

“The people of Haiti deserve peace and security and Haiti’s political leaders need to come together for the good of their country,” Biden said, adding the U.S. was prepared to provide assistance as necessary.

Biden indicated he would have more to say in the coming days on the unfolding situations in Cuba and Haiti.

U.S. officials from the departments of Justice, Homeland Security and State, as well as the White House National Security Council, traveled to Haiti on Sunday to review the country’s security and assist with the investigation in Moïse’s death.

Psaki said there were no new announcements on U.S. assistance to Haiti but described the conversations between U.S. and Haitian officials as in their early stages. 

Haiti has requested U.S. troops to help Haiti guard critical infrastructure as the country grapples with unrest following Moïse’s assassination last week. Psaki said the request for troops has not been ruled out.

Tags Cuba Cuba protests Haiti Haiti assassination Jen Psaki Joe Biden

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