- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 15, 2021

The White House on Thursday said Cubans are protesting oppression under communism and the pandemic-related deprivations that stem from that “failed ideology.”

Press secretary Jen Psaki was responding to critics who say the administration characterized the street protests in Havana and elsewhere as an outburst over the coronavirus instead of a rebuke of decades of oppressive rule.

She said it’s both, essentially, with one leading to the other.

“Communism is a failed ideology,” she said. “It has failed the people of Cuba, they deserve freedom. They deserve a government that supports them, whether that is making sure they have health and medical supplies, access to vaccines, or whether they have economic opportunity and prosperity.

“Instead, this has been a government — an authoritarian, communist regime — that has repressed its people and has failed the people of Cuba, hence we’re seeing them in the streets,” Ms. Psaki said.

Some of the protesters have called on President Biden to rally to their aid as Cuban authorities fail to meet their demands and arrest demonstrators.

Ms. Psaki said Mr. Biden is voicing support for the Cuban protesters and reviewing U.S. policy to provide humanitarian support for Cubans without “padding the pockets” of the authoritarian regime.

• Tom Howell Jr. can be reached at thowell@washingtontimes.com.

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