White House Walks Back Claims That Cuban Protests Were Over ‘Rising COVID Cases/Deaths & Medicine Shortages’

We reported earlier that U.S. Sen Ted Cruz (R-TX) called out the New York Times for their reporting on the slogans used by protesters in Cuba.

To some, the focus by Republican supposed lawmakers on this issue appears to be a distraction from various potential civil rights violations that are taking place here in America, like the imprisonment of some who protested on Jan. 6.

Nevertheless, the protests have been a focus of the White House and a tweet yesterday from the Acting Assistant Secretary for U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, Julie Chung, has drawn a lot of criticism as well.

Chung claimed that “Peaceful protests are growing in #Cuba as the Cuban people exercise their right to peaceful assembly to express concern about rising COVID cases/deaths & medicine shortages.”

“We commend the numerous efforts of the Cuban people mobilizing donations to help neighbors in need,” Chung added.

Many have responded to the tweet and suggested that the focus of the protest is on more than just the “Rising COVID cases/deaths & medicine shortages.”

Conservative Ron Coleman lamented, “I’ll never forget those protests against the German Measles” and shared a picture of a man taking a sledgehammer to the Berlin Wall.

Today, Chung walked back her previous tweet without saying she was walking it back.

In another tweet, Chung noted, “Cuba’s people continue to bravely express yearning for freedom in the face of repression.”

Echoing another tweet she made the night before, Chung continued, “We call on Cuba’s gov’t to: Refrain from violence. Listen to their citizens’ demands. Respect protestor & journalist rights.”

Chung concluded, “The Cuban people have waited long enough for ¡Libertad!”

White House press secretary Jen Psaki attempted to walk back the comments as well when challenged by Fox News’ Peter Doocy.

From The Daily Mail:

When asked about Chung’s tweet at Monday’s White House press briefing, press secretary Jen Psaki pointed out first that the protests ‘were just happening yesterday.’ 

‘We’re still assessing what is motivating and of course is driving all these individuals who came to the streets,’ she said. 

Psaki said that the way the Cuban people are governed they could be discontent about a number of things including ‘economic suppression, media suppression, lack of access to health and medical supplies, including vaccines – there are a range of reasons and voices we’re hearing from people on the ground who are protesting.’ 

Fox News’ Peter Doocy pointed out that most of the protesters are ‘yelling freedom’ and again asked how that could be interpreted as a demonstration against rising COVID cases.  

‘Again I would say that when people are out there in the streets protesting and complaining about the lack of access to economic prosperity, to the medical supplies that they need, to a life they deserve to live – that can take on a range of meanings,’ Psaki said. ‘There’s a global pandemic right now. Most people in that country don’t have access to vaccines. That’s certainly something we’d love to help with.’