Hundreds of people across Jacksonville gathered to fight for a free Cuba on Sunday.
During the protest, which started at Regency Mall and then moved to the downtown area, people said Cubans are suffering and it’s time for everyone to pay attention.
Protestor Jose Moralez said it’s a revolution for the country.
“The lack of medicine, the lack of human rights,” Moralez said. “They finally decided to protest and we’re here to support them to make their struggle visible. As a Cuban-American, we feel its our responsibility to make sure the world knows they need the right to be able to claim that freedom in the streets like they are doing right now. The people are finally doing what they’ve never done before in 60 years.”
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis sent a tweet of support saying, “The Cuban dictatorship has repressed the people of Cuba for decades and is trying to silence those who have the courage to speak out against its disastrous policies.”
Florida Democratic Party chair Manny Diaz said he’s encouraged to see all the protests happening.
He said if there’s anything specific triggered what’s going on, it’s the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Johns Hopkins COVID resource center said there’s 238,000 cases in Cuba and 1,537 deaths.
Diaz said it’s been a political and economic nightmare for the island, a place he says prides itself on achieving medical success.
Diaz added they’ve been demonstrating for a long time under a repressive government, and this is what happens when you don’t listen.
“People are dying and people can’t get medicine,” Diaz said. “The very basic things that all of us have access to in the country, it doesn’t happen there, so there is a lot of humans suffering and this is a product of human suffering.”
One protestor disagrees with the way the country tried to mitigate COVID-19. He’s proud his country is taking a stand.
“Is people dying in Cuba due to COVID-19?” said Yoan Corrales. “The lack of food, medicine. The lack of really good care. In a communist country, sometimes people can’t take care of themselves. But sometimes Cuban people are waiting for the government. The government is doing nothing, because it’s not a real government.”
Diaz says he is calling on the Biden Administration to help in this situation.
I asked exactly what he wanted to see from Biden. He said he wants him to acknowledge what’s happening and honor and support their right to protest.