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‘Cuba libre’ painted on street outside Embassy of Cuba in Washington

“CUBA LIBRE VZLA” is painted on 16th Street NW in front of the Embassy of Cuba in Washington. (Chris George/The Washington Post)
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The words “CUBA LIBRE” were seen painted in large letters on the street outside the Embassy of Cuba in Northwest Washington on Friday, an expression of solidarity with the thousands of anti-government protesters across Cuba.

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The lettering outside the embassy appeared to be in the style of the street letters at Black Lives Matter Plaza near the White House and was noticed by residents and shared on social media. D.C. Department of Public Works crews arrived outside the embassy Friday afternoon to remove “the unauthorized painting,” according to spokesperson Erica Cunningham.

In a Friday statement to The Washington Post, embassy officials wrote: “Despite the systematic policy of confrontation and aggression of the United States government against Cuba, the American diplomats who work in the US Embassy in Havana have always been safe and have never been the object of attacks, or other manifestations of hatred. The Cuban Government expects the same behavior on the US side.”

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President Biden has voiced support for the demonstrators and called on the “Cuban regime to hear their people and serve their needs at this vital moment rather than enriching themselves.”

The letters “VZLA” also appeared in the street painting, an apparent reference to Venezuela. Carlos Vecchio, the Venezuelan ambassador to the United States for opposition leader Juan Guaidó, tweeted a photo of the messaging outside the embassy on Friday.