Cuba’s leader, Miguel Diaz-Canel, blames U.S. sanctions for discontent. Canada expresses concern. The United States stands with the people of Cuba in their call for freedom and relief from the coronavirus pandemic and decades of repression, President Joe Biden said on Monday as the streets of Havana appeared quiet a day after rare public protests. Global Affairs Canada, meanwhile, said it is “closely monitoring the situation in Cuba” and “concerned by recent events.” “Canada supports the right to freedom of expression and assembly and calls on all parties to uphold this fundamental right,” a Global Affairs spokesperson told CBC News via email. “Global Affairs Canada urges all sides to exercise restraint and encourages all parties involved in the crisis to engage in peaceful and inclusive dialogue.” Chanting “freedom” and calling for President Miguel Diaz-Canel to step down, thousands of Cubans joined street protests from Havana to Santiago on Sunday in the biggest anti-government demonstrations on the Communist-run island in decades.