Name? Miguel Díaz-Canel
Westphalian identity? Cuban
Why is he in the news? Cuban President Díaz-Canel has been detaining dozens (if not hundreds) of anti-government protestors for nearly two weeks as they demonstrate against food shortages, high prices and the party rule.
Why do we care? While the Cuban government often detains protestors for a day or two after small-scale demonstrations, the biggest day of protests in the country since the Cuban Revolution has many thinking this could be the spark for real change in the small communist country.
Why should you care? President Díaz-Canel has consistently blamed the US for Cuba’s economic woes, particularly after the Trump Administration battered the island with over 200 sanctions…while the Cuban President is prone to exaggeration, he isn’t entirely false in his claims here. Since the 1960s, the US has maintained a trade embargo against Cuba with the hopes of forcing its communist government out of power. Instead, the embargo has resulted in a consistently short supply of medicine, food and other necessities on the island. In June, the UN Resolution calling for an end to the embargo was adopted for the 29th time…so you should care 29/10 about Cubans having medicine in the middle of a pandemic.
Who else cares? Florida Governor Ron Desantis as at the southernmost tip, Florida is only 145 km from Cuba, making the island’s affairs particularly important to the governor. In fact, Desantis expressed interest in having local companies potentially expand internet access to Cuba as Díaz-Canel began restricting Cuban’s access to the internet.
Any further comments? Luckily for President Díaz-Canel, he has plenty of supporters who have responded to his call for a “revolutionary response” and fought back against the anti-government protests. And if that weren’t enough, the head of the Communist Party’s ideological department, Rogelio Polanco Fuentes, stated the protests were simply a form of “nonconventional warfare” by the US in pursuit of regime change…