Cienfuegos (Cuba) (AFP)
About 50 boats took part in a protest regatta in Cuba’s Bay of Cienfuegos on Sunday, accompanied by bikers and people waving flags on the shore, to demand an end to US sanctions amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The communist island says sanctions, tightened under former President Donald Trump, have prevented it from producing the vaccines it needs for its people.
Under President Joe Biden, “the United States government has kept intact Trump’s measures that harm the Cuban people,” Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez said on Twitter.
The country of 11.2 million people has reported more than 141,000 cases of Covid-19 and 950 deaths.
It started vaccinating members of the public this month with two locally produced vaccines that have yet to complete clinical trials.
Under US sanctions since 1962, Cuba has a long tradition of manufacturing its own vaccines, dating back to the 1980s, and is working on five candidate vaccines against the coronavirus. He has not bought or searched for coronavirus vaccines elsewhere.
From the coast of Cienfuegos Bay, 245 kilometers (152 miles) southeast of Havana, a group of young Communist Party supporters encouraged participants in the non-competitive regatta with messages such as: “No to genocidal and inhuman blockade.
“This regatta is a condemnation and a denunciation … of the criminal blockade,” accused Maylin Leon, 28, organizer of the event and head of the ideology department of the youth branch of the Communist Party of Cuba.
Fishing boats and kayaks also participated in the event, as did bikers on the shore waving Cuban flags and shouting the revolutionary slogan “Motherland or Death”.
Cuba’s relations with the United States are at their lowest since President Trump stepped up sanctions following a historic but temporary easing of tensions under Barack Obama between 2014 and 2016.
Washington accuses Cuba of human rights violations and is angered by its support for leftist Venezuela.
On the campaign trail, Biden had promised to bring back some of Obama’s policies to seek normalization of ties, but as president he has yet to make an announcement.
© 2021 AFP