Cuba’s President Miguel Diaz-Canel says what the world is seeing of recent protests in the country is “a lie.”
Speaking during a rally alongside former President Raul Castro and before thousands of supporters in the capital Havana on Saturday, Diaz-Canel denounced dissemination of "false images" on social networks.
"What the world is seeing of Cuba is a lie."
False images and reports “encourage and glorify the outrage and destruction of property,” the Cuban president stated.
Six days of unrest in Cuba have led to at least one death, dozens of injuries and more than 100 arrests.
The protests erupted against the Diaz-Canel government over the weekend.
Rumor had it on social media networks that Castro had fled to Venezuela.
Unreliable reports also said protesters had kidnapped a provincial Communist Party chief and that the Venezuelan government was sending in troops.
Havana said earlier that words of that type had been spread on social media and messaging apps as part of a broader US-backed attempt by counter-revolutionaries to destabilize Cuba.
Diaz-Canel says Washington is responsible for the unrest.
Cuba is going through its worst economic crisis in 30 years, with chronic shortages of electricity and food exacerbated by hefty US sanctions.
The president said on Friday that the White House “has failed in its efforts to destroy Cuba, despite spending billions of dollars to do so.”
Diaz-Canel was referring to the US trade embargo that has been in place against Cuba since 1962 and that was reinforced under former President Donald Trump.
The Caribbean nation is also experiencing its toughest phase yet of the coronavirus pandemic. The Cuban government has reiterated that the US embargo is impeding the country’s ability to purchase equipment and other supplies to deal with COVID-19.
Numerous resolutions by the United Nations General Assembly have indicated that the US blockade of Cuba is against international law.