U.N. Human Rights Chief Michelle Bachelet has called on Cuba to stop cracking down on the ongoing protests in the country and immediately release all detained protestors and journalists.
Bachelet on Friday urged the Cuban government to address the protesters’ demands such as lifting the economic restrictions that hampers access to food, medicine and #COVID-19 vaccines.
Over the past few days, at least 140 Cubans have either been detained or gone missing during the clashes. The government of President Miguel #Díaz-Canel says social media and the U.S. government are to blame for the protests.
“I am very concerned at the alleged use of excessive force against demonstrators in Cuba and the arrest of a large number of people, including several journalists,” Bachelet’s statement read. “It is particularly worrying that these include individuals allegedly held incommunicado and people whose whereabouts are unknown.”
She also called for a probe into the death of a 36-year-old protester who died during a clash between demonstrators and police on Monday.
“I deeply regret the death of one protester in the context of protests in Havana,” she said. “I urge the Government to address the protesters’ grievances through dialogue, and to respect and fully protect the rights of all individuals to peaceful assembly and to freedom of opinion and expression.”
Díaz-Canel admitted during a speech on Thursday that his government’s handling of shortages and neglecting certain sectors might have contributed to the unrest.
He took over #Cuba’s Communist party early this year when long-time chief Raúl #Castro announced he was stepping down.
Cuba has seen virtually no protests over the past 60 years.