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Protesters in Havana on Sunday. Photo: Yamil Lage/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden said Monday he supports the Cuban people and their "clarion call for freedom and relief," amid massive protests on the island against the government and food and medicine shortages during the pandemic.

What he's saying: "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," the president said in a statement.

  • "The United States calls on the Cuban regime to hear their people and serve their needs at this vital moment rather than enriching themselves," he added.

Why it matters: The protests in Havana and elsewhere are the largest demonstrations against the communist government since 1994, as Cuba experiences one of its worst economic crises in decades.

The other side: Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel on Monday blamed the U.S. sanctions imposed by the Trump administration for recent medicine shortages and power outages, per Reuters.

  • He denounced vandalism by protesters, referring to it as "totally vulgar, indecent and delinquent behavior," and blamed social media for weaponizing the economic crisis against the government.

Go deeper ... In photos: Thousands of Cubans rally for anti-government protests

Go deeper

Updated Sep 9, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Taliban bans all protests that don't have its approval

A woman protests in Kabul. Photo: Marcus Yam/Los Angeles Times

The Taliban announced Wednesday a ban on all protests, slogans and demonstrations that do not have official approval of the caretaker government.

Why it matters: The decree signals that the new all-male interim government is set to be repressive, despite pledging to be "inclusive." It was written by Sirajuddin Haqqani, the head of the new interior ministry, who is wanted by the FBI for terrorism offenses.

29 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Senate Republicans sink short-term government funding, debt limit bill

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Senate Republicans on Monday voted down the House-passed bill to fund the government through Dec. 3 and raise the debt limit.

Why it matters: Congress is just 72 hours away from a potential shutdown, so now comes Democrats' Plan B. Democratic leadership is expected strip the short-term funding bill of language about raising the debt limit — the part that Republicans' reject — in order to pass a bill before federal agencies close down on Friday.

Mike Allen, author of AM
3 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Laurene Powell Jobs' $3.5 billion climate campaign

Laurene Powell Jobs, president of Emerson Collective, is investing $3.5 billion in her new climate-action group, the Waverley Street Foundation — all to be spent in 10 years, as a way to show urgency on the issue.

  • Then the group will sunset.

The big picture: The foundation "will focus on initiatives and ideas that will aid underserved communities who are most impacted by climate change," an official tells Axios.