World Biden Seeks to Rally Latin American Allies on Cuba as It Blasts 'Brutal Pressures'
Biden calls Cuba a 'failed' state, considers US tech option to send internet services
President Biden said Thursday that he is considering the possibility of establishing an internet source for the Cuban people after the government shut off access amid mass protests. An internet blackout was enforced by the communist state Sunday after Cubans hit the streets in historic protests over food shortages, inadequate access to the coronavirus vaccine, and unreliable electricity. "We’re considering whether we have the technological ability to reinstate that access," Biden during a press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel Thursday.
Presidentis seeking to rally partners in Latin America against Cuba as the island nation lambasted the United States' efforts to politically isolate the country it has already subject to a decades-long economic embargo.
Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez took toon Wednesday to reveal what he suspected to be a U.S.-made draft intended to be signed by foreign ministers as part of a joint statement by the Organization of American States, the 35-member state international bloc spanning the Western Hemisphere.
Biden looks to force open internet, offers vaccines to 'failed' Cuba
President Joe Biden said Thursday the United States was considering ways to force open internet access in Cuba, which he called a "failed state" as the communist leadership faces down the biggest protests in memory. The United States has long criticized internet restrictions around the world, notably in China, but its cyber operations have dealt more with security threats than ensuring open access. One idea floated by experts would be to send balloons with mobile WiFi similar to measures taken during natural disasters.
The top diplomats signing would "condemn the massive arrests and detentions of protestors in Cuba and call the government to respect the rights and freedoms of the Cuban people and free information to all Cubans."
The statement further urged Havana "to respect the legally guaranteed rights and freedom of the Cuban people without fearing arrests or detentions" and "to free the detained for exercising the right to peaceful protests." Specifically, it called for the granting of press freedoms and the restoration of internet access.
"The international community will not wane its support to the Cuban people and those who stand up for the basic freedoms that all peoples deserve," the statement warned.
Can the United States really "restore" Internet in Cuba?
© Provided by the point The Possibility advanced by President Joe Biden that Washington "Restores" the Internet Mobile to Cuba after the restrictions imposed by Havana as a result of historical events, could revolutionize the Notion of digital rights but will first have to circumvent technical and geopolitical obstacles. "They cut access to the Internet.
Rodríguez condemned the text, which appeared in both English and Spanish, as well as Washington's broader campaign to align the region against Havana in the wake of historic protests across Cuba.
"I denounce that the US State Department is exercising brutal pressures on the governments of a group of OAS States, forcing them to support this statement or issue a similar one," Rodríguez wrote.
He then challenged U.S. Secretary of Stateand the State Department "to recognize or refute the authenticity" of the document.
Reached for comment by Newsweek, a State Department spokesperson did not explicitly say whether or not the alleged draft was genuine, but confirmed that the Biden administration is "exploring further options at theand the OAS to support the Cuban people and call for respect for human rights and universal freedom."
The spokesperson also reiterated the content of the message, which echoed the theme of remarks delivered by interim U.S. representative to the OAS, Bradley A. Freden, during a virtual address last week.
Mexico Seeks to Renew Ties With North Korea, Also Backs Cuban Government: Foreign Minister
North Korea has, like Mexico, thrown its support behind Cuba's government after recent protests in Havana.Mexico's support for Cuba's government, as well as its desire to reopen ties with North Korea, put the key U.S. trading partner at odds with leaders in Washington, D.C. The U.S. has for decades had tense relations with Cuba due to Washington's opposition to the communist government there, while also technically remaining at war with North Korea despite the conflict's unofficial end in 1953.
"The Cuban government tries to silence its people by arresting, jailing, and censoring them," the spokesperson said. "It cannot silence their voices."
To enforce this, the White House is searching for partners to deliver a common message on the situation.
Video: The argument to rally an international response to Cuba (MSNBC)
"As President Biden directed, we have intensified diplomatic engagement with our regional and international partners to support the aspirations of the Cuban people," the spokesperson said. "It is important for the international community to speak up in support of the Cuban people, to condemn the Cuban government's crackdown on peaceful protestors, and to call on the Cuban government to respect the human rights and fundamental freedoms of Cuban people."
And, as did the alleged draft joint OAS ministerial statement, the spokesperson cited the U.S. policy as being one rooted in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
"We will urge our partners to respect them," the spokesperson said, "no matter what other differences we may have with regard to Cuba."
Nikole Hannah-Jones said Cuba is among 'most equal' countries because of socialism
1619 Project founder Nikole Hannah-Jones said in a podcast that she believes Cuba is the most equal country in the Western hemisphere and could serve as a model for its integration agenda . In a 2019 podcast with Ezra Klein of Vox and The New York Times, Hannah-Jones was asked whether there were candidates or places that she thought had a "viable and sufficiently ambitious integration agenda." Hannah-Jones responded that while she is not an expert on race relations internationally, she believed the most "equal" and "multiracial" country in the Western hemisphere is Cuba, which she attributed to socialism.
These differences were made apparent last month when the United Nations General Assembly delivered a near-unanimous 184-2 condemnation of the ongoing Cold War-era U.S. trade restrictions imposed on Cuba. The U.S. and close ally Israel were the only ones to oppose, while nearly all OAS members voted in support, with only Brazil and Colombia abstaining.
In remarks shared with Newsweek at the time, Cuban permanent representative to the U.N., Pedro Luis Pedroso Cuesta, estimated that the sanctions havesince their inception in the wake of Fidel Castro's 1959 revolution and the subsequent adoption of communism.
Six decades later, Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel, the first outside of the Castro family to act as head of state and head of the ruling Communist Party, has acknowledged room for reforms in the wake of the rare demonstrations accusing his government of not restricting freedoms and failing to provide adequate goods and services, including COVID-19 vaccines.
At the same time, he and his top officials have blamed the U.S. for stirring unrest via social media campaigns and of compounding Cuba's economic woes through the embargo at a time of international financial strain due to the pandemic.
Declarations of support for Cuba and warnings against outside intervention have been expressed by regular critics of U.S. foreign policy such as China, North Korea, Russia and Syria. In Latin America itself, Cuba has received declarations of support from Argentina and leftist-led Bolivia, Mexico, Nicaragua and Venezuela, the latter two of which have also been subject to U.S. sanctions and political pressure.
Rachel Campos-Duffy: Cuban, Venezuelan Catholics feel betrayed by Pope Francis. Here's why
If you spend time with Cuban and Venezuelan Catholics, you will hear about the pain inflicted on them by the man who is supposed to be their shepherd: Pope Francis. The heartache and betrayal felt by faithful Catholics, many of whom risked or continue to risk their livelihoods and their lives to practice and hold on to their faith and Christian traditions, is the reason so many freedom-loving Catholics have dubbed the Argentine pope, "Papa Che," after the iconic communist murderer, Che Guevara.
Left-wing Peruvian President-elect Pedro Castillo has also held the U.S. responsible for Cuba's economic difficulties.
Those backing the U.S. position include Brazil and Colombia, which has been criticized due to its own crackdown on anti-government protests that turned violent earlier this year.
Biden's next steps on Cuba remain uncertain as his administration continues its review of policies inherited by his predecessor, former President. The prior U.S. leader reversed the historic warming of ties with Cuba pursued under former President , who Biden served as vice president, and tightened measures against Havana.
On the campaign trail in September, Biden said he would "try to reverse the failed Trump policies that inflicted harm on Cubans and their families," but his administration has offered indications of new restrictions to come.
State Department spokesperson Ned Price told reporters Wednesday that the administration was "confident" that "there is more room" for sanctions against Cuba.
"There are broad sanctions imposed against Cuba, of course, with humanitarian carve-outs and tools we can use to ensure that much-needed humanitarian supplies can reach the Cuban people," Price said, "but we are confident that we have policy tools available to us, to potentially include sanctions, that could be wielded against specific individuals who may be responsible for some of what we've seen."
Read Joe Biden's Full Remarks Announcing 'Concerted Action' Towards Cuba .
"Cuban-Americans are hurting. They are hurting because their loved ones are suffering, and it's quite frankly intolerable," Biden said on Friday.Biden made his comments when meeting with Cuban-American leaders at the White House on Friday afternoon. Since July 11, thousands of Cubans have been protesting their government over food shortages and the worst economic crisis the country has experienced in 30 years.