Havana (CNN)Cuba announced connected Wednesday it was temporarily lifting restrictions connected travelers bringing food, medicines and hygiene products into the state successful an evident acknowledgment of demands from anti-government demonstrators.
Thousands took to the streets crossed the land federation past play to protestation chronic shortages of basal goods, curbs connected civilian liberties and the government's handling of a worsening coronavirus outbreak, marking the astir important unrest successful decades.
The uncommon question of demonstrations against the country's communist authorities has been fanned by a deepening economical situation worsened by the pandemic. Covid-19 has devastated the country's tourism industry, sending Cuba's system into a heavy slump.
Cubans present walk hours successful agelong lines to bargain nutrient and medicine, and lockdowns person near galore without work. Driven by hopeless conditions, migration is connected the rise by some onshore and sea. Since the commencement of the 2021 fiscal year, the US Coast Guard reported intercepting astir 500 Cubans astatine sea.
In a state known for repressing dissent, the demonstrations person been viewed arsenic remarkable. US President Joe Biden connected Monday expressed enactment for the Cuban people, urging Cuban President Miguel Diàz-Canel's authorities to "hear their radical and service their needs."
"We basal with the Cuban radical and their clarion telephone for state and alleviation from the tragic grip of the pandemic and from the decades of repression and economical suffering to which they person been subjected by Cuba's authoritarian regime," Biden said successful a statement.
In the aftermath of the protests, anti-government activists accidental that much than 100 radical person been detained oregon are missing successful a crackdown described arsenic the largest successful years.
The US, Canada and the European Union person condemned the arrests of governmental activists and journalists, demanding their contiguous release.
"The Cuban Government has attempted to soundlessness their [Cubans] voices and communications done net shutdowns, violence, and arbitrary detentions of dozens of protesters, journalists, activists, and different repressive tactics," US State Department spokesperson Ned Price said connected Tuesday, calling connected the Cuban authorities to merchandise anyone detained for peaceful protest.
President Díaz-Canel blamed the unrest connected vandals and criminals, and denied constabulary had utilized excessive unit against protesters.
But, days later, helium conceded that the authorities needed to bash much to amended surviving conditions successful poorer neighborhoods that had been rocked by the demonstrations.
On Sunday, CNN journalists witnessed aggregate radical being forcibly arrested and thrown successful the backmost of vans astatine protests successful Havana. Videos of the protestation showed demonstrators turning implicit a constabulary car and throwing rocks astatine officers.
The Cuban authorities has not said however galore radical were arrested oregon injured successful the protests. Díaz-Canel said helium didn't cognize the nonstop figure, but said "tens of people" had been injured.
In San Antonio de los Banos, a metropolis of astir 46,000 radical westbound of Havana, hundreds of Cubans took to the streets connected Sunday, fed up aft astir a week of energy cuts during the sweltering July heat.
"Everyone was successful the streets," 1 resident, who did not privation to beryllium named, told CNN. "They person gone six days with lone 12 hours of powerfulness each day. That was 1 of the things that blew this up."
On Wednesday evening, the Cuban authorities announced it would assistance restrictions connected nutrient and medicine travelers could bring into the state -- a tiny concession for demonstrators. Custom duties connected these products volition not request to beryllium paid, and the relaxed measures volition enactment successful spot for the remainder of the year.
The Cuban authorities blames its economical woes connected the US commercialized sanctions, which restricts its entree to imports and financing. In a caller nationally televised address, Díaz-Canel repeated that disapproval and urged his supporters to physically face protesters.
"The bid to combat has been given," helium said astatine the extremity of his quality connected Sunday. "Revolutionaries request to beryllium connected the streets."