MEXICO CITY (AP) – United States President Joe Biden will meet with Cuban-American leaders Friday to discuss recent protests in Cuba, the possible enactment of new sanctions and the prospect of offering internet to the island’s population. will analyze.
According to information provided by the Biden administration to The Associated Press on Thursday, the meeting will take place at the White House on Friday afternoon.
The meeting will take place nearly three weeks after the unusual July 11 protest, in which thousands of Cubans took to the streets in Havana and other Cuban cities to protest product shortages and power cuts for the first time since the 1990s. Been suffering for months. In demonstrations he also started against the government and the political model.
The White House told the press that those who would meet with the US President would include “Homeland and Life!” Yotuel Romero is also included in one of the authors of the song, which has become a sort of anthem of recent protests. The CEO of the company eMerge Americas L. Felice Gorordo will also be present; Ana Sofia Pélez, founder of the Miami Freedom Project, and Manny Diaz, the former mayor of Miami, among others.
Apart from potential sanctions against the government and eventual Internet service for the population, the White House did not provide details about other measures that could be taken.
Internet access is a sensitive issue in Cuba. Even days before the protest, there were calls from social networks to protest against the government, while it prompted anti-Castro groups in the United States, especially on Twitter, to promote a campaign against it, and that The company was blamed for not doing so. Nothing to stop him. At one point in the afternoon of 11 July, service was cut, although officials have not explicitly acknowledged that they did.
Some US leaders, including Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, have said the White House should do something to keep internet service in Cuba, including using balloons to serve as Wi-Fi hotspots for the population.
Last week, the US government announced sanctions against Cuba’s Minister of Armed Forces, lvaro López Miera, and the Interior Ministry’s Special Brigades – known as “Black Berets” – after participating in the arrests of protesters. For. Oppose.
Jose Miguel Vivanco, the US director of the Human Rights Watch organization, acknowledged that the security of Internet access in Cuba should be “one of the top priorities” of the Biden government.
“The increased access to the Internet on the island has been a true revolution, allowing the population to communicate, organize protests and condemn abuses, something that was impossible just a few years ago,” he told the AP on Thursday. ,
Regarding the sanctions, Vivanco said that their value is “mostly symbolic”, as it is unrealistic to think that these alone will change the situation in the Caribbean nation and believed that a way to prevent human rights violations is “multilateral condemnation and coordinated”. . ”, in addition to progress towards a policy that eliminates the current ban.
International organizations have strongly criticized the Cuban government, which has said that although those affected by the crisis participated, there were “criminals” who took advantage of the situation to create disturbances. At some point, the protests became vandalism, with looting, robbery and confrontations with the police.
Government supporters also took to the streets to defend the authorities and the revolution.
It is not yet clear how many people were taken into custody, although the Supreme Court has said it has conducted 19 trials involving 59 people.