Venezuelan Socialist Leader: Cuba Protests Are Actually Euro Cup Celebrations

Socialist United Party of Venezuela (PSUV) leader Diosdado Cabello reacts after the announcement of the legislative election results in Caracas on December 7, 2020. (Photo by Cristian Hernandez / AFP) (Photo by CRISTIAN HERNANDEZ/AFP via Getty Images)
CRISTIAN HERNANDEZ/AFP via Getty Images

Diosdado Cabello, the head of Venezuela’s ruling socialist party, stated during a press conference this week that the protests in Cuba do not exist and the footage of them widely broadcast throughout international media is, in reality, Italian fans celebrating the nation’s Euro Cup victory.

Cabello is one of Venezuela’s most powerful socialist leaders and widely believed to be the head of the Cartel de los Soles, a multinational cocaine trafficking syndicate. He also hosts a state television propaganda show, Con el Mazo Dando (“Hitting with the Mallet”).

Cuban people began nationwide street protests on Sunday demanding an end to the communist regime. Thousands of people have taken the streets since, and reports indicate protests are ongoing as of Thursday in nearly every major city in the country. The Communist Party responded to the protests by issuing an “order of combat” demanding that loyalists violently attack anyone considered a dissident if seen on the street. As of Wednesday, thousands are believed to be in police custody or missing for participating in the protests.

Despite the Castro regime openly acknowledging that protests are ongoing and blaming them on the United States, Cabello made the case during a press conference on Tuesday that no such assemblies had happened, calling the protests a “media creation.”

“What happened on social media had nothing to do with reality,” Cabello said. “People [were] celebrating the Euro Cup and they put that photo out there as if it were happening in Cuba.”

Cabello also claimed that some of the many images of Cubans protesting in clearly identifiable cities within Cuba were Argentines celebrating their victory in the Copa América, the South American equivalent of the Euro Cup. Both are soccer tournaments governed by the regional bodies overseen by the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA).

“It was in Argentina they were celebrating the America Cup, they took the photo from far away and, with no shame whatsoever, saying ‘look at Cuba how it is,” Cabello claimed:

Cabello then repeated what has become the default far-left argument against the protests: the true cause of all suffering in Cuba is not 62 years of communist repression, but mild economic sanctions imposed on Cuba by the United States.

“They don’t understand that it’s 60 years of a blockade for them to now think that five tweets from five influences are going to end the Cuban Revolution,” Cabello said, offering the Venezuelan regime’s “solidarity, our support, our affection, our respect to the Cuban people and their government for the immense struggle they are undergoing.”

Cabello’s remarks joined a growing list of far-left South American socialists weighing in to defend the Castro regime. Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, the former president of Brazil, issued a statement on Twitter dismissing the protests as indistinguishable from protests against leaders in democratic societies. Lula’s administration was closely tied to the Castro regime and invested heavily in Cuba’s slave doctor fundraising system.

“Is what is happening in Cuba so special to be talking so much about it?” Lula asked on Twitter. “There was a march. I even saw the president of Cuba at the march, talking to people.”

Lula appeared to be referring to Miguel Díaz-Canel, the figurehead president of the Castro regime, organizing a small government-mandated counterprotest on Sunday.

“I’m tired of seeing protests against Lula, against [former Brazilian president] Dilma [Rousseff], against Trump … people protest,” Lula continued, adding that were it not for U.S. sanctions on Cuba, the country “would be a Holland” and that violence against black Cubans on the part of the police, unlike in America, was not happening.

The same day Lula made these remarks, a video surfaced from Cárdenas, Matanzas, Cuba, showing police beating and shooting a man in his home, in front of his twin two-year-olds, and dragging him away, leaving a pool of blood. The man was later identified as Daniel Cárdenas, a black man who had marched peacefully on Sunday.

While Latin American socialists – and American far-left groups – have banded behind the Castro regime, the administration of President Joe Biden has done little in response to the protests, urging the regime to listen to the protesters but failing to condemn communism for its role in creating the dire circumstances in which the vast majority of Cubans live. The Biden administration has repeatedly claimed that the protests are a response to the Chinese coronavirus pandemic. White House press secretary Jen Psaki suggested this week that Cuban protesters chanting “freedom” were actually calling for “freedom from COVID [Chinese coronavirus],” not freedom from communism.

The Biden administration lifted sanctions on Venezuela’s oil industry Monday, despite Venezuela’s close economic ties to the Castro regime. The new rules allow “all transactions and activities related to the exportation or reexportation, directly or indirectly, of liquefied petroleum gas to Venezuela,” giving a lifeline to the state-run oil company, Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA).

Sanctions on individual Venezuelan socialist regime leaders, including Diosdado Cabello, remain in vigor.

Follow Frances Martel on Facebook and Twitter.

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