WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (CBS12) — Black Lives Matter is facing fierce criticism on social media for defending the Cuban government and blaming the antigovernment protests on the U.S.
On Wednesday night, Black Lives Matter issued a statement saying Cuba’s troubles were a result of the U.S. embargo, calling it “a cruel and humane policy” that was “instituted with the explicit intention of destabilizing the country and undermining Cubans’ right to choose their own government.”
The organization has also been critical of a double standard when it comes to enforcing Florida’s new “anti-riot” law, which was passed in response to last summer’s demonstrations following the death of George Floyd.
Many have questioned why the law wasn’t applied to demonstrators in South Florida who protested in solidarity with protesters on the island.
However, two men arrested in the Tampa area during an antigovernment protest are being held on charges related to the state’s new anti-riot law.
Republicans such as Sen. Marco Rubio, a first-generation Cuban American, and Rep. Greg Steube, a Republican in Sarasota, slammed the organization for their statement.
The organization’s statement also implies that Cuba always helped African freedom fighters and civil rights movements.
“Cuba has historically demonstrated solidarity with oppressed peoples of African descent, from protecting Black revolutionaries like Assata Shakur through granting her asylum, to supporting Black liberation struggled in Angola, Mozambique, Guinea Bissau and South Africa,” the statement reads.
Shakur, a former Black Liberation Army member who is still wanted by the FBI, escaped from prison in 1979 and fled the U.S. after she was convicted for the murder a New Jersey state trooper.
The organization cited the U.S. embargo as the reason why the Cuban government was unable to handle the COVID-19 pandemic and is calling on President Joe Biden to lift sanctions.
“Now, we look to President Biden to end the embargo, something Barack Obama called for in 2016,” the statement reads. “This embargo is a blatant human rights violation and it must come to an end.”