The Cuban Embassy in Paris was firebombed early Tuesday morning. The socialist country’s foreign minister accused the US of encouraging violence against Havana.
Two assailants hurled three Molotov cocktails at the diplomatic compound, causing some damage to the building, the Cuban mission said in a statement on its website. The diplomats were not injured.
Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez denounced the “terrorist attack” and blamed Washington. “I hold the US government responsible for its continued campaigns against our country that encourage this behavior and for its calls for violence, with impunity, from its territory,” he tweeted.
The US backed this month’s historic anti-government protests on the island and imposed new sanctions on Havana over its crackdown on activists. “We stand with the Cuban people and their clarion call for freedom,” President Joe Biden said in a statement on July 12.
Biden’s hardline approach leaves little room for any potential easing of the embargo, which is taking a toll on Cuba’s economy.
During the largest demonstrations Cuba has seen in decades, people rallied against economic hardship, food and medicine shortages, blackouts, and the current political system. Protests were reported in more than 40 cities, including Havana, and were countered by pro-government rallies.
Demonstrations were also held in the US, Argentina, Brazil, and other places abroad. In Spain’s capital, Madrid, protesters marched condemning the Cuban government on Monday, and a rally in support of the authorities took place the next day.
Officials in Cuba made some economic concessions after the protests, but also accused the US and domestic dissidents of using economic problems to stir unrest through social media. President Miguel Diaz-Canel accused the media of spreading lies about the nature and scope of the protests.
Washington broke off diplomatic ties with Cuba in 1960, shortly after revolutionaries led by Fidel Castro overthrew the government, and imposed an embargo in 1962.
An American embassy in Havana was reopened in 2015 during the Obama administration, in which Biden served as vice president, which sought rapprochement with Cuba. The policies were completely reversed under Obama’s successor, Donald Trump, and the situation remained unchanged after Biden replaced Trump.