On protest anniversary, Cuba, US far apart on what happened

Jul 11, 2022, 2:52 AM | Updated: 9:27 pm
People walk at the Paseo del Prado while members of the police patrol in Havana, Cuba, Monday, July...

People walk at the Paseo del Prado while members of the police patrol in Havana, Cuba, Monday, July 11, 2022. A year after the largest protests in decades shook Cuba's single-party government, the economic and political factors that caused them largely remain. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

(AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

HAVANA (AP) — A year ago, thousands of people filled Cuba’s streets and public squares in the country’s largest outpouring of protest in decades.

On Monday’s anniversary, its main cities looked relatively normal — students sat in schools and people went to work, and as usual there were long lines of people looking for food or waiting for a bus as the island faces shortages in an economic crisis.

Hundreds were arrested during the unrest last July, and some have been sentenced to up to 25 years in prison. That is about all the two sides agree on.

Critics of the government said the events showed Cubans fighting against oppression. The authorities portrayed it as a moment when Cuba avoided a “soft coup” fomented by the U.S.

On July 11 and 12, 2021, protesters took to the streets to vent their frustrations over shortages, long lines and a lack of political options. Some were drawn to the marches by calls on social media, while others joined in spontaneously when marchers passed by.

The economy is still in crisis, with rising prices for what goods are available, and there has been a spike in migration to the U.S.

Cuba’s economy also remains hobbled by U.S. sanctions. Despite his promises while campaigning to end the sanctions, President Joe Biden has only eased some, including allowing U.S. residents to send more money to Cuban relatives.

Since the protests, relations between the two countries have been tense.

In a message to Cubans on Monday, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that “Americans watched with admiration on July 11, 2021, as tens of thousands of you took to the streets to raise your voices for human rights, fundamental freedoms and a better life.” He said the U.S. stand with the marchers.

Cuba’s government offered a different take.

“There was vandalism, some with cruelty and tremendous belligerence,” Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel said in comments published in official media Monday. “If there’s anything to celebrate it is the victory of the Cuban people, of the Cuban revolution, before the attempts of making (the protests) into a ‘soft coup.'”

Responding to Blinken, Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez said his message was a confirmation of the “direct involvement” of the U.S. government “in attempts to subvert order and peace” in Cuba.

Authorities haven’t said how many people were arrested during the protests, but an independent organization formed to track the cases, Justice 11J, has counted more than 1,400. In June, Cuba’s prosecutor’s office said courts had imposed sentences on 488 protesters, ranging up to 25 years in prison.

The government insists protesters were not arrested for political reasons but for violating laws against public disorder, vandalism or sedition. It says many acted at the instigation of U.S.-based opposition groups using social media to attack Cuba’s communist system.

Saily Núñez’s husband, Maikel Puig, was among the protesters. He has been sentenced to 20 years in prison.

“More than a sad day, I feel proud that my brave (husband) was there on the streets,” Núñez said on her Twitter account Monday.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Halyna Borysenko waits to milk cows at the KramAgroSvit dairy farm in Dmytrivka, Donetsk region, ea...
Associated Press

Dairy farm in Ukraine’s Donbas region struggles to survive

DMYTRIVKA, Ukraine (AP) — One of the last working dairy farms on Ukrainian-controlled territory in the eastern Donbas region is doing everything it can to stay afloat in a place where neither workers nor animals are safe from Russia’s devastating war. Only around 200 head of cattle remain of the nearly 1,300 kept at the […]
24 hours ago
Some parts of a main road along the Han River are flooded due to heavy rain in Seoul, South Korea, ...
Associated Press

AP Week in Pictures: Asia

Aug. 5-11, 2022 This photo gallery highlights some of the most compelling images made or published by Associated Press photographers in Asia and Pacific. The gallery was curated by AP photo editor Hiro Komae in Tokyo. Follow AP visual journalism: Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/apnews AP Images on Twitter: http://twitter.com/AP_Images AP Images blog: http://apimagesblog.com Copyright © The Associated […]
24 hours ago
Associated Press

Latvia, Estonia leave China-backed East Europe forum

BEIJING (AP) — Latvia and Estonia say they have left a Chinese-backed forum aimed at boosting relations with Eastern European countries, in what appears to be a new setback for China’s increasingly assertive diplomacy. The move follows China’s boosting of its relations with Russia, whose invasion of Ukraine is seen as a possible first step […]
24 hours ago
FILE - People walk outside the U.S Capitol building in Washington, June 9, 2022. The biggest invest...
Associated Press

In Biden’s big bill: Climate, health care, deficit reduction

WASHINGTON (AP) — The biggest investment ever in the U.S. to fight climate change. A hard-fought cap on out-of-pocket prescription drug costs for seniors in the Medicare program. A new corporate minimum tax to ensure big businesses pay their share. And billions left over to pay down federal deficits. All told, the Democrats’ “Inflation Reduction […]
24 hours ago
FILE - Anne Heche arrives at the premiere of "The Tender Bar" on Dec. 12, 2021, at the TCL Chinese ...
Associated Press

Anne Heche on life support, survival of crash ‘not expected’

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Anne Heche is on life support after suffering a brain injury in a fiery crash a week ago and her survival isn’t expected, according to a statement from a representative. The actor, who is in a coma and in critical condition, is being kept on life support for possible organ donation, […]
24 hours ago
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, A...
Associated Press

House Dems set to overcome GOP for climate, health care win

WASHINGTON (AP) — A flagship Democratic economic bill perched on the edge of House passage Friday, placing President Joe Biden on the brink of a back-from-the-dead triumph on his climate, health and tax goals that could energize his party ahead of November’s elections. Democrats were poised to muscle the measure through the narrowly divided House […]
24 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.
...

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!
...

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]
...

Compassion International Is Determined to ‘Fill’ a Unique Type of Football ‘Stadium’

Compassion International SPONSORED — During this fall’s football season—and as the pandemic continues to impact the entire globe—one organization has been urging caring individuals to help it “fill” a unique type of “stadium” in order to make a lasting difference in the lives of many. Compassion International’s distinctive Fill the Stadium (FtS, fillthestadium.com) initiative provides […]
...

What are the Strongest, Greenest, Best Windows?

Lake Washington Windows & Doors SPONSORED — Fiberglass windows are an excellent choice for window replacement due to their fundamental strength and durability. There is no other type of window that lasts as long as fiberglass; so why go with anything else? Fiberglass windows are 8x stronger than vinyl, lower maintenance than wood, more thermally […]
On protest anniversary, Cuba, US far apart on what happened