Cuba Compares Capitol Riot to Lincoln Assassination

Protesters gather on the U.S. Capitol Building on January 06, 2021 in Washington, DC. Pro-Trump protesters entered the U.S. Capitol building after mass demonstrations in the nation's capital during a joint session Congress to ratify President-elect Joe Biden's 306-232 Electoral College win over President Donald Trump. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty …
Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Granma, the official newspaper of the Communist Party of Cuba, compared a violent riot at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday by alleged supporters of President Donald Trump to the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln and the destruction of the White House by the British in 1814.

Following a large protest that Trump addressed on Wednesday – where he told the crowd to “get your people to fight and if they don’t fight we have to primary the hell out of the ones that don’t fight.”

“We’re going to walk down to the Capitol and we’re going to cheer on our brave senators and Congressmen and women,” Trump promised, but instead departed to the White House on his own while a small group of those in attendance went to the Capitol and burglarized it, leading to at least four deaths. Photos from inside the Capitol during the raid showed rioters breaking through glass windows, looting items from the historic building, and rushing into the legislative chambers. The riot caused lawmakers, who were in the middle of certifying the electoral college votes for President-elect Joe Biden, to go into hiding. They formalized Biden’s election in the early hours of Thursday.

Trump responded to the riot with a video in which he told the rioters, “we love you, you’re very special” and that he felt their “pain.” “Go home,” he added.

Like other rogue states and human rights abusers around the world, Cuba’s state media covered the violence as indicative of the decline of the United States in its entirety. Granma claimed the incident was “the gravest in the history of the [Capitol] building, symbol of American power, since the British, on August 24, 1814, burned it down along with the White House and other government institutions.”

“Glass was literally broken in the ‘window of democracy’ with which the United States has attempted to lecture the world,” the Granma article read.

“The gravity of the situation also perhaps recalls other incidents in the outskirts of the city, like the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, who was shot in the head while attending a play at the Ford Theater,” Granma continued.

Granma did not elaborate on the comparison, and the similarities are not immediately clear, as there is no indication that Trump was personally in danger at any point on Wednesday. The assassination of Lincoln in 1865 followed the U.S. Civil War, the most violent period moment in American history not involving foreign powers.

The newspaper concluded by wryly lamenting that “few will allude to” an alleged attack against the Cuban embassy in Washington in April.

In another article, Granma hinted that the one incident on Wednesday could somehow result in America causing international chaos, without elaborating.

“Hopefully these Trumpist tricks do not have implications beyond the borders of the U.S. and the threats from Trump, [Secretary of State Mike] Pompeo, and others in the fundamentalist select group, who insist on possible acts of war, do not become reality,” the propaganda outlet declared.

Juventud Rebelde, a Cuban state propaganda outlet geared towards young communists, also published a column speculating that the riots were the “beginning of a civil war, an attempted coup, and an attack on democracy,” citing unnamed “observers.”

The article, titled “Chaos in the Empire,” favorably relayed condemnation of President Trump by Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE) and “The Lincoln Project,” an anti-Trump consultant collective.

The Trump administration prioritized foreign policy initiatives that made it more difficult for the Cuban communist regime to oppress its people, in contrast with the appeasement strategy of predecessor Barack Obama. Among the policies implemented against the Castro regime were the conclusion of “people to people” tours to Cuba – an exception to the embargo under Obama – and the outlawing of American cruises to Cuba. While tourism to Cuba is technically not legal under the longstanding “embargo,” Obama legalized tourism via cruise ships, netting the Castro regime millions of dollars.

Trump’s Cuba policy has resulted in a decline in politically motivated arrests in Cuba from the peaks of the Obama era and growing signs of popular dissent, including an unprecedented protest at the Havana Ministry of Culture in November.

President-elect Joe Biden has vowed to undo the Trump policies and revert to Obama’s “thaw” towards Cuba.

Follow Frances Martel on Facebook and Twitter.

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