Protestors paint 'Cuba Libre' on street in front of the Cuban embassy in DC

Protestors paint 'Cuba Libre' on street in front of the Cuban embassy in DC
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Demonstrators painted the phrase "Cuba Libre" on the street outside of the Cuban embassy in Washington, D.C., on Friday, a nod to those who protested earlier this week over economic turmoil and calls for regime change in the country.

The painted letters — which translate to “free Cuba” — have associations with the country’s 1959 revolution and Cuba’s independence from Spain, Reuters reported

D.C. Department of Public Works spokesperson Erica Cunningham said that crews had come to get rid of “unauthorized painting” on Friday afternoon, according to The Washington Post.

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“Despite the systematic policy of confrontation and aggression of the United States government against Cuba, the American diplomats who work in the US Embassy in Havana have always been safe and have never been the object of attacks, or other manifestations of hatred. The Cuban Government expects the same behavior on the US side,” embassy officials told the Post in a statement.

Protesters in Cuba took to the streets starting on Sunday demonstrating against shortages of medicine and food during the pandemic, power outages and increased inflation. The pandemic has also hurt Cuba’s tourism industry.  

Many are hoping the protests — some of the largest seen in decades — will prompt political change. 

On Monday, Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel blamed the U.S. embargo for “politics of economic asphyxiation,” which he said was having a “cumulative effect” on the country, NBC News reported.

President BidenJoe BidenBriahna Joy Gray: White House thinks extending student loan pause is a 'bad look' Biden to meet with 11 Democratic lawmakers on DACA: report Former New York state Senate candidate charged in riot MORE has said he supports the protesters.

“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 said Monday. 

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Secretary of State Antony BlinkenAntony BlinkenBlinken calls US-India relationship 'vital' during official visit US sanctioning Syrian officials, groups over human rights abuses Chinese officials meeting with Taliban ahead of US withdrawal MORE refuted claims that protests were “a result or product of anything the United States has done.”

“I think it would be a grievous mistake for the Cuban regime to interpret what is happening in dozens of towns and cities across the island as a result or product of anything the United States has done,” Blinken said. 

The Hill has reached out to the embassy for comment.