ORLANDO, Fla. — As thousands protested the Cuban government in Havana, groups of protesters took to the streets around Florida Sunday in solidarity.
Young Cubans in Havana and other parts of the island took part in one of the biggest anti-government protests in recent memory, demonstrating against high prices, and shortages of food, medicine and electricity amid the pandemic. The country is going through a resurgence of COVID cases while also grappling with sanctions still imposed by the Trump administration.
In Orlando, Tampa and Miami, hundreds came out to do likewise.
TRAFFIC ADVISORY UPDATE: @MiamiPD still has the area of S.W. 32nd - 37th Avenue on 8 Street shut down as the demonstration continues. Please avoid the area until further notice. pic.twitter.com/NfqtI884DW— Miami PD (@MiamiPD) July 12, 2021
“They need our support. They need our help, because alone, they won’t be able to do it,” said Cuban-American Beatriz Hernandez Alonso, who came out to the Sedano's market on State Road 436 in Orlando Sunday.
"For over 60 years, my country has been in a dictatorship where it has oppressed the people. People have been dealing with poverty. There’s no medicine in Cuba. The hospitals are now completely full,” she said.
Cuban-Americans take to the streets in favor of the Cuban people (who are protesting to demand food, vaccines and freedom). This is at the Sedano’s Supermarket on Semoran in #Orlando. @MyNews13 #News13Orange #Cuba #CubanAmericans #SOSCuba #CubaLibre #CubansInOrlando pic.twitter.com/KuqMyoMLsI— Stephanie Bechara (@BecharaReports) July 11, 2021
Some 100 people arrived in the Sedano's parking lot Sunday as part of the #SOSCuba movement. They plan to hold another rally on Tuesday.
In Tampa meanwhile, hundreds came out to rally along Dale Mabry Highway in Tampa.
Rosa Rivera from Tampa is an exile, and says her loved ones back home are suffering.
“They don’t have food, they don’t have medicine. They’re dying of hunger. The kids are begging for food in the streets,” she said.
The Spanish cries of "homeland and life" and "free Cuba" say it all.
“It’s about time. We’ve seen crowds here before but not in the major count that we’ve had now and that’s what we need,” said Rey Martin, a Hillsborough County resident and a founding member of Brothers to the Rescue.
Martin believes this is the tipping point, that these latest protests will lead to new action against the Communist government.
"They’re doing everything to show this is it," Martin said. "We’ve had enough, it's about time the U.S., or any other country, I don’t care, either let us go in and do something about it or they do something about it.".
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, himself a Cuban-American, said he would call on the Biden administration to implore the Cuban military not to fire on protesters.
"The incompetent communist party of #Cuba cannot feed or protect the people from the virus," Rubio said.
I am asking @POTUS @SecBlinken to call on members of the Cuban military to not fire on their own people— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) July 11, 2021
The incompetent communist party of #Cuba cannot feed or protect the people from the virus.
Now those in the military must defend the people not the communist party.