The last two weeks witnessed widespread protests against the authoritarian Cuban regime, with thousands taking to the streets in Havana to express dissatisfaction with the government’s handling of the COVID-19 crisis and — above all — the torpid economy.

Hit by the collapse of tourism, a mainstay of the economy, the government has struggled to maintain even the very low standard of living the Cuban people have endured for decades. With former U.S. President Donald Trump’s sanctions still in place, Raul Castro — brother of the regime’s revolutionary founder, Fidel Castro — shifted to a symbolic leadership role, and a wave of COVID-19’s delta variant roiling the island, unrest has bubbled over.

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