Cuba is an example of resistance, says Mexican president while wants to replace OAS

cuba flag

Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said Saturday that Cuba is an “example of resistance,” and proposed the entire country should be declared a World Heritage site.

Media reports said:

The Mexican President praised Cuba’s ability to stand up to U.S. hostility since 1959.

López Obrador has in the past stated his opposition to U.S. sanctions that limit commerce with Cuba, and said they should be ended.

López Obrador also said the Organization of American States (OAS), an organization considered as U.S. controlled, should be replaced “by a body that is truly autonomous, not anybody’s lackey.”

Mexico has publicly disagreed with the OAS leadership over its role in the political situation in countries like Bolivia.

López Obrador spoke Saturday at a ceremony attended by Cuba’s foreign minister to mark the 238th birthday of Simón Bolívar, who led the fight to liberate several South American countries from Spanish rule in the early 1800s.

The Mexican government is sending two navy ships to Cuba with food and medical aid.

The Mexican Foreign Relations Department said the ships will carry oxygen tanks, needles and syringes, and basic food items like rice and beans.

The announcement of Mexican assistance came on Thursday, the same day that the U.S. government tightened the sanctions on some Cuban officials after they controlled rare street vandalism earlier this month. The new sanctions target a Cuban official and a government special brigade the U.S. says was involved in human rights abuses during the street vandalism.

Lopez Obrador blamed the U.S. embargo for fomenting the biggest unrest in Cuba in decades.

The Mexican ships will leave the port of Veracruz in the Gulf of Mexico on Sunday, taking syringes, oxygen tanks and masks along with powdered milk, cans of tuna, beans, flour, cooking oil and gasoline.

The shipments exemplify Mexico’s policy of “international solidarity” and it will keep offering humanitarian aid to help Latin American and Caribbean countries tackle the coronavirus pandemic, the foreign ministry said in a statement.

The loading of the cargo began early on Thursday, said Marisa Lopez, a spokeswoman for the office of the mayor of Veracruz.

The Cuban embassy in Mexico City did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Cuban government has blamed the protests and vandalism mostly on what it calls U.S.-financed “counter-revolutionaries” exploiting economic hardship caused by decades-old U.S. embargo.

There have been pro-government rallies as well.

Latin American governments have split along ideological lines over the protests in Cuba.

Mexico, run by leftist Lopez Obrador, has sided with Cuba, while Chile and Peru have urged the Cuban government to allow protests.

Russia sends food and masks to Cuba

Other media reports said:

Russia’s Defense Ministry has sent two planes loaded with aid to its long-time partner Cuba.

Two Cuba-bound An-124 large cargo planes carrying food, protective gear, and more than a million masks have taken off from Chkalovsky Air Base, the Russian Defense Ministry said on Saturday.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has spoken with his Cuban counterpart, Miguel Diaz-Canel, several times by phone in recent months. The leaders agreed to strengthen cooperation against Covid-19.

Cuba, a nation of 11.3 million is living under US economic sanctions. Overall, 2,203 people have died from the virus in Cuba since the start of the pandemic.

‘Beginning’ of the end? Biden warns Cuba of looming torrent of sanctions

Decades after first placing Cuba under embargo, the U.S. has warned Havana that its number is up. U.S. President Joe Biden has slapped sanctions on several Cuban officials, declaring “this is just the beginning.”

Biden has sanctioned the Cuban minister of defense, Alvaro Lopez Miera, and the “Boinas Negras” or Black Berets, a Special National Brigade within the Ministry of the Interior, citing their alleged role in repressing “peaceful, pro-democratic protests” starting July 11. The Biden administration warned it would continue to impose sanctions as punishment “to hold them accountable for their actions.”

“This is just the beginning – the United States will continue to sanction individuals responsible for oppression of the Cuban people,” Biden declared in an official announcement.

The Cuban embassy has not responded in an official capacity as of Thursday afternoon.

The U.S. response was organized on Wednesday night, via conference call, in coordination with Cuban-American activists in Miami who had been calling for more U.S. action against Cuba ever since the July 11 protests in Cuba.

It is not clear which activists took part in the negotiations or what sort of political authority they actually have, if any, however. While the Biden administration claimed to have engaged “Cuban-American activists and leaders,” at least one of these leaders, Sasha Tirador, has been investigated in the past for election fraud.

Miami’s Cuban-American mayor, Francis Suarez, had been urging the Biden administration to unleash airstrikes on Havana, suggesting the U.S. “liberate” Cuba the way it “liberated” Panama, Afghanistan, or Yugoslavia, with a coup or maybe some “humanitarian” bombing.

The Biden administration’s Cuban liaisons even want to expand the Magnitsky Act, which – as Tirador gleefully put it – “will hold each individual who violates human rights on the island of Cuba accountable.”

However, Cuban-American Senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida) poured cold water on Biden’s muscle-flexing by noting that most Cuban officials are already under sanctions. Indeed, the whole country is under an embargo, so sanctions wouldn’t deliver the usual punch.

Rubio suggested Biden could restore the internet to the Cuban people, deploying high-altitude balloons – though the utility of the plan was deemed questionable, as others brainstormed more workable possibilities for re-establishing an online connection to the island. Onlookers were less than enthusiastic about Biden’s special plan to free Cuba, though.

Journalist Glenn Greenwald appeared to compare the likely outcome to the blood left on Washington’s hands following the Arab Spring, after Biden tweeted his condemnation of “mass detentions and sham trials that are the Cuban regime’s efforts to threaten the Cuban people into silence,” hinting that such behavior was more in line with U.S. allies such as Riyadh than Havana.

PressTV correspondent Wyatt Reed noted a disparity between U.S. ally Colombia, where millions had hit the street in protest, and Cuba, where the protesters numbered in the thousands. Reminding U.S. media that Cuban police had not killed any protesters, only to be sanctioned for their restraint, he pointed out that Colombia had reportedly killed at least 44, and that the violence was not only ongoing but had been blithely overlooked by the U.S., which did not seem to take offense at the deaths of the protesters at all.

A handful of U.S. Republican party leaders showed up in Miami’s Little Havana neighborhood to goad Biden into action. Fox News’ Sean Hannity devoted his hour-long show on Wednesday night entirely to the Cuban protests. It featured Rubio, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, and Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar (R-Florida), with Hannity wondering aloud whether Biden’s “doctrine” was “kiss the ass of every single solitary dictator in the world.”

While Cuba had not been a foreign policy priority when Biden took office, the U.S. president knows better than to let a good crisis go to waste. Despite a slow start, Biden last week declared Cuba a “failed state” and communism a “failed system.”

Biden’s words leave little hope for the U.S. lifting sanctions on Cuba, which have significantly contributed to Cuba’s economic woes.

The U.S. president also wants to dump piles of coronavirus vaccines on Havana, even though the country has developed several shots of its own.

Cuban president denounces US-backed ‘media terrorism’

Another media report from Cuba said:

Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel has blasted what he claims are intentional efforts to make his country look unstable and dangerous, following anti-government demonstrations that led to numerous arrests and one person’s death.

Speaking to thousands of supporters in Havana on Saturday, Diaz-Canel claimed the narrative that there is widespread unrest in Cuba is a false one. He was joined by former President Raul Castro, 90, while he addressed supporters.

The ‘lie’ being pushed through viral social media images and foreign politicians and activists is not “by chance or mistake,” said Diaz-Canel.

“All this is the cold calculation of an unconventional war manual,” he claimed. The president had previously blamed the protests on “foreign meddling,” pointing to the U.S. as the likely culprit behind the demonstrations.

He also blasted ‘media terrorism’ against Cuba funded by the Washington and Florida political machine, according to Cuban news agency Prensa Latina.

Diaz-Canel put social media networks in his sights, too, saying they “encourage and glorify the outrage and destruction of property” and contain an “overflowing of hatred.”

“Born to conquer and not to be conquered!” shouted the people at the Cuban president’s rally.

Diaz-Canel previously responded to Biden’s comments by naming the U.S. as the actual failed state. In a lengthy Twitter thread, he called for America to pull back its sanctions and blasted the country for having “shameful record of wars and violence; brutal repression and killings of citizens by the police; racism and human rights violations.”

Diaz-Canel posted images of the large crowd gathered on Saturday – similar rallies were held in other cities – and said Cuba “will never be a land of hatred” and will be independent.

Fox News mocked for blurring pro-government slogans in footage of Havana rally

As Ted Cruz praised the bravery of anti-government protesters in Cuba on Fox News on Tuesday, little did he know that the channel was showing footage from a pro-government rally in Havana alongside his remarks.

After opponents of the Cuban government staged mass protests last week, the unrest became a focus of national news in the U.S. Texas Senator Ted Cruz, who comes from a family of Cuban refugees and counts many Cuban exiles among his supporters who come from Florida, minced no words in denouncing the evils of communism and dunking on the Democrats, who would argue that the U.S. was contributing to the hardships of the Cuban people by maintaining its decades-old blockade of the island nation.

His Tuesday appearance on Fox News, however, included a small detail that went largely unnoticed. As he was speaking about “brutal oppression” by the Cuban government and hailing the protesters, the footage shown by the cable station depicted a rally by Cuban government supporters. Fox News apparently knew exactly what it was airing, since it was careful to blur the slogans that some of the activists were carrying.

Some eagle-eyed viewers caught the inconsistency. The same footage – but with the slogans clearly visible – can be seen, for example, in a Deutsche Welle report on the situation in Cuba. Demonstrators declaring that “the streets belong to the revolutionaries” are probably not the kind of Cuban protesters that Senator Cruz had in mind. “There were anti-government protests. Why are you doing this? Why did you go out of your way to lie?” wondered a TikTok user, who highlighted the Fox News gaffe.

Fox News is by no means the only Western news outlet to misrepresent images shown in its coverage of the Cuban protests. Quite a few used a photo of a pro-government rally at the Maximo Gomez monument in Havana, which was erroneously captioned by AP as an anti-government event. Fox News was among those who used the misleading image, including in another interview with Cruz.

Meanwhile, CNN showed a photo of a protest in Miami, implying that the event actually happened in Cuba itself.

The anti-government demonstrations in Cuba were launched last Saturday. Supporters of the Cuban government responded by staging large rallies of their own, which may explain some of the media confusion in the West.

Some other countries, including Russia, voiced their skepticism about what was happening. Moscow directly accused the U.S. government of orchestrating a campaign to destabilize the Cuban government.


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