Black Lives Matter has accused the U.S. government for the current unrest in Cuba while praising the communist regime for its “solidarity” by granting “black revolutionaries” asylum.
The Marxist group has faced fierce backlash after posting a statement on Wednesday amid protests that have erupted in multiple cities across the nation, with Cubans calling for greater freedoms and an end to the communist dictatorship.
In the note that was posted to its social media profiles, the group condemned the 1962 U.S. embargo, claiming it was instituted with the “explicit intention” to destabilize Cuba and “undermine the right of Cubans to choose their own government.”
“Black Lives Matter condemns the U.S. federal government’s inhumane treatment of Cubans and urges it to immediately lift the economic embargo,” the group wrote. “This cruel and inhumane policy, instituted with the explicit intention of destabilizing the country and undermining Cubans’ right to choose their own government, is at the heart of Cuba’s current crisis.”
The largest protest that the communist-controlled country has seen in decades erupted over the weekend after citizens rallied for freedom.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who denied the claim that the United States is to blame for Cuba’s unrest, said on Monday that the main factor that has led people to the streets lies with the mismanaged economy of the nation and the communist regime’s failure to supply its citizens with basic needs.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), among other officials, also rebuked the group’s claim.
“The extortionist ring known as the Black Lives Matter organization took a break today from shaking down corporations for millions & buying themselves mansions to share their support for the Communist regime in #Cuba,” the Florida senator said on social media.
Cuban leader Miguel Díaz-Canel in a televised address Wednesday night has admitted that government shortcomings in handling shortages and other problems played a role in this week’s protests, while also urging Cubans to not act with hate.
Before his announcement, the Cuban regime had only blamed social media and the U.S. government for the protests, which were the biggest seen in Cuba since a quarter-century ago.
The BLM statement—which was posted around the same time Díaz-Canel admitted that shortcomings were largely to blame for the revolt—was quickly disputed online, including by the group’s own followers, urging them to take the post down.
“Very disappointing and uninformed statement,” one person wrote. Another said BLM’s view of Cuba’s situation is “a horrible misrepresentation of what’s happening.”
In the note, BLM also praised the communist regime for its “historically demonstrated solidarity with oppressed peoples of African descent” and “protecting black revolutionaries” such as Assata Shakur, also known as JoAnne Chesimard, a former member of the Black Liberation Army who escaped from prison in 1979 while serving life for the execution-style murder of a New Jersey state trooper; she was granted asylum by former Cuban leader Fidel Castro. She remains one of the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorists.
The group, known for organizing protests against police brutality in the United States, didn’t mention Cubans’ calls for “freedom” against an oppressive regime and widespread reports of police brutality, sparking controversy.
“Disgusting! Despite the Cuban dictatorship’s murdering and beating of protestors (many of them Black), BLM’s statement on Cuba … condemns the U.S., praises the Castro regime, and makes no mention of the atrocities being committed by the dictatorship,” said Giancarlo Sopo, a communication strategist who once worked on President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign.