Supporters, opponents of Cuban gov’t clash in Chile
Santiago, Jul 16 (EFE).- One person was injured here Friday as Cuban expatriates who oppose the government in their homeland clashed with compatriots and Chileans who support the island’s Communist rulers.
To the cry of “Long live free Cuba,” more than 200 people gathered outside the Cuban Consulate in Santiago to wave flags and bang pots and pans to express support for last Sunday’s anti-government protests in the Caribbean nation.
Soon, a group of 150 Cubans loyal to the administration of President Miguel Diaz-Canel showed up and confronted the demonstrators, sparking clashes that went on for several hours.
Police eventually managed to break up the fight, taking at least one person into custody.
“I am here to defend my people from the dictatorial Communists,” protester Jorge Santos said.
Santos called for the “end of the Castro regime,” referring to the government established by Fidel Castro (1926-2016) and led until three years ago by younger brother Raul Castro, who stepped down in favor of Diaz-Canel.
Last Sunday, hundreds of people took to the streets across Cuba to denounce shortages of food and medicine and frequent power blackouts as the island struggles with the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“It’s entirely the fault of the blockade that the United States maintains,” Laura Diaz, a Chilean woman who came to “protect the consulate,” said, blaming the privations that spurred the marches in Cuba on Washington’s six-decade-old economic embargo.
Sunday’s demonstrations were the largest Cuba has seen since 1994, when the country was suffering through the “Special Period” that followed the collapse of the Soviet Union, which had provided significant subsidies to its allies in Havana.
The Cuban government has offered no information on the number of people arrested on Sunday, but activists and international organizations suggest that hundreds were detained. EFE pnm/dr