Deep Dive (July 15): Pitbull Posts Emotional Plea for Help for Cubans

Tiffany Meier

Rapper Pitbull sent out an impassioned plea, calling for help for Cuban protesters. He said in a video post online, “They’re losing their lives over there literally for something that we wake up every day and appreciate, which is freedom.” He added, “This is about freedom and it’s about human rights.” This comes as the communist Cuban regime shuts down internet services amid a mass civilian uprising. Following the widespread protests, police are cracking down. According to Cuba’s Ministry of Interior, one person died during clashes with police on Monday. Over a hundred Cubans are either arrested or missing. Cuba’s president, meanwhile, said the protestors were the violent ones and that government security forces are not committing human rights abuses.

Drug overdose deaths rose nearly 30 percent last year, reaching nearly 95,000. That’s the highest number of overdose deaths ever recorded in a single year. Many experts blame the pandemic’s stay-at-home orders for the record numbers. The director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse calls the deaths chilling. She said the pandemic “created a devastating collision of health crises in America.” And recovered drug addict Arman Maddela said his relapse started with alcohol after he lost his job and was stuck at home all the time from lockdowns, and he’s not surprised by the increase in overdose deaths.

July 15 marks one year since a massive Twitter hack by a 17-year-old that compromised the accounts of 130 of the biggest names in the world and scammed over $100,000 in Bitcoin. The hack last year raised a number of issues, namely, how a global social media platform with over 330 million monthly users could be easily hacked. And as for government involvement in Twitter, the platform released its transparency report Wednesday. In it, Twitter said, in the second half of 2020, verified accounts of nearly 200 journalists and news outlets on its platform faced over 350 legal demands from governments to remove content. That’s a 26 percent increase from the first half of the year.

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Tiffany Meier is a New York-based reporter and host of NTD's "China in Focus."
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