President Joe Biden said Monday the anti-communist protests that broke out in Cuba over the weekend represent a "clarion call for freedom."
"We stand with the Cuban people and their clarion call for freedom and relief from the tragic grip of the pandemic and from the decades of repression and economic suffering to which they have been subjected by Cuba's authoritarian regime," Biden wrote in a statement, his first comments on the mass demonstrations. "The Cuban people are bravely asserting fundamental and universal rights. Those rights, including the right of peaceful protest and the right to freely determine their own future, must be respected."
Biden additionally called "on the Cuban regime to hear their people and serve their needs at this vital moment rather than enriching themselves."
The president did not respond to questions on the protests, the largest mass demonstrations undertaken by Cuba in decades, on his arrival at the White House on Sunday evening after a weekend at his home in Delaware.