The US State Department came under fire on Sunday for a tweet that linked the historic protests that erupted in Cuba to concerns over COVID-19 in the country where people have lived under communism for decades.

Julie Chung, Acting Assistant Secretary of the Department’s Office of Western Hemisphere Affairs, said: “Peaceful protests are on the rise in Cuba as the Cuban people exercise their right to peaceful assembly to express concern over the increase. COVID cases / deaths and drug shortage. We commend the many efforts of the Cuban people in mobilizing donations to help their neighbors. “


Chung’s Twitter bio indicates that her tweets are signed with a “JC”. The tweet in question did not bear his initials. The State Department did not immediately respond to Fox News for clarification.

According to reports from the country, the demonstrators chanted “Freedom”, “Enough” and “We want freedom”. Critics say the COVID-19 crisis appears to be on the outskirts of the country’s discontent.

Cuba is going through its worst economic crisis in decades, accompanied by a resurgence of coronavirus cases, as it suffers the consequences of US sanctions imposed by the Trump administration.

Senator Marco Rubio, R-Florida, called the State Department tweet “ridiculous.”

A man is arrested during a protest against the government of Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel in Havana on July 11, 2021. (Photo by YAMIL LAGE / AFP) (Photo by YAMIL LAGE / AFP via Getty Images)

“People in Cuba are protesting 62 years of socialism, lies, tyranny and misery without ‘expressing concern over the increase in COVID cases / deaths,” he tweeted. so hard for @potus and his administration to say that? “

Jake Sullivan, the White House National Security Advisor, attached Chung’s tweet to his post stating that the United States “supports freedom of speech and assembly in Cuba and would strongly condemn any violence or targeting of protesters. peaceful people who exercise their universal rights ”.


Chung’s account was later released on the State Department’s concerns about “calls to fight” in Cuba.


“We defend the right of the Cuban people to assemble peacefully,” she posted. “We call for calm and condemn all violence.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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