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The Spill: Cuba Protests

Weekly news you can use.

By:  |  July 13, 2021  |    649 Words

(Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

Cuba Libre? No Tenemos Miedo

Protesters in Cuba have taken to the streets against the government to fight for freedom. On Sunday afternoon, thousands of protestors gathered to challenge the communist system, oppression, and hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

President Miguel Diaz-Canel encouraged communist believers – whom he called “revolutionary citizens” – to fight back against the protesters on his behalf. He used the state-run television to blast this message: “The order to fight has been given – into the street, revolutionaries!” He accused the United States of starting a smear campaign against the Cuban government.

Protesters chanted “No Tenemos Miedo” (We Are Not Afraid), “Freedom,” and “Down with the dictatorship.”

The United States has taken a keen interest in the uprising in the streets of Havana. Jake Sullivan, White House national security adviser, wrote: “The U.S. supports freedom of expression and assembly across Cuba, and would strongly condemn any violence or targeting of peaceful protesters who are exercising their universal rights.”

Protests in the tightly controlled communist island are rare. Cuba has been a communist country since 1959, when Fidel Castro led a revolution. It is an island nation located 90 miles south of Florida.

U.S. Citizens Arrested Over Assassination of Haiti President

On July 7, the Haitian president, Jovenel Moïse, was assassinated in his home. The Caribbean nation of Haiti elected Moïse in 2017. The president was shot, and his wife, Martine, was gravely injured.

Investigators say that witnesses saw two dozen or more mercenaries posing as United States Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) officers storm the house. Part of the team were two U.S.-Haitian citizens and several Colombians.

It seemed likely this was a group of soldiers for hire with no political agenda. But now, questions have arisen on whether the assassination was an inside job. From a hospital bed in Florida where Martine Moïse is recovering, she tweeted that her husband was killed by political enemies who opposed his proposed constitutional changes, giving the president greater power.

Haitian police have arrested 20 of the suspects. As things stand, Haiti is in chaos as no one wants to recognize a new president yet.

To Infinity and Beyond

It appears the first leg of the billionaire space race has been won by Sir Richard Branson. He flew to the edge of space, took a look, and came back to Earth. The 70-year-old entrepreneur claimed it “was the trip of a lifetime” that lasted 59 minutes. The spaceplane went into flight on Sunday morning, leaving N.M. Spaceport America, reaching 55 miles above the Earth’s surface.

Branson flew with pilots David Mackay and Michael Masucci, as well as Virgin Galactic’s lead operations engineer, Colin Bennett, and Sirisha Bandla, a research vice-president. The crew can be seen on footage wearing sunglasses and grinning.

Elon Musk, a part of the “billionaire space barons” trio, which also includes Jeff Bezos, was at the launch pad, appearing nearly as giddy as his friend, Branson.

As friendly competition, Bezos’ space company Blue Origins jokingly asked if Branson was really in space or just near the edge. The boundary between the atmosphere of Earth and outer space – known as the Kármán line – is a tad contested. Fédération Aéronautique Internationale says the line is 62 miles above Earth. NASA, however, says the line is 50 miles above mean sea level. According to NASA, if anyone crosses the line, as Branson did, they are considered astronauts.

Branson’s next venture will establish an orbital hotel. But until then, space fans can sign up to fly in the future with Virgin Galactic for a cool $250,000 each. Apparently, it’s a good time, as Branson said upon his return to Earth: “What a day … what a day, what a day, what a day. I dreamt of this moment since I was a kid, but nothing can prepare you for the view from space.”

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