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Cuba lifts customs restrictions on food, medicine following protests

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Posted at 12:18 PM, Jul 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-15 12:40:28-04

Cuba is temporarily lifting its customs restrictions on food, medicine and hygiene products. The new measure will stay in place for the rest of the year.

The Cuban government’s announcement Wednesday comes three days after mass protests erupted across the island, driven in part by chronic shortages in stores.

Protesters took to the streets to express their anger over food and medicine shortages, as well as repeated power outages. Many protesters even called for political change in the Communist-governed country.

Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel has called protesters criminals, but he has also said the government needs to do more outreach and improve conditions in poor neighborhoods that were rocked by protests.

The recent protests have been some of the biggest demonstrations seen in Cuba since the collapse of the Soviet Union ended its economic subsidies for the island.

President Joe Biden called the protests in Cuba “remarkable” and a “clarion call for freedom.” He praised thousands of Cubans who took the streets on the island to protest food shortages and high prices amid the coronavirus crisis.