JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Large contingents of Cuban police were patrolling the capital of Havana on Monday following rare protests around the island nation against food shortages and high prices amid the coronavirus crisis.
The conditions have also fueled demonstrations in Florida, including Jacksonville, where for the second night in a row, a large group of nearly 100 people gathered downtown.
“Right now, we don’t have any voice,” said Eduardo Ramos, who joined the demonstration. “We don’t have access to hospitals, food, medicine, anything. And people are dying in the street right now.”
“Us as a community in the United States have to help them,” said Barbara Guadara, a demonstrator.
Another demonstrator, Nestor Estevez, told News4Jax that his brother was taken into custody Sunday by the regime in Cuba for organizing a protest.
Support for the protesters swelled Monday in Florida, home to many Cuban immigrants and their families.
Cuba’s president says the demonstrations were stirred up on social media by Cuban Americans in the United States. Many young people took part in the Sunday protests in Havana, which disrupted traffic until police moved in after several hours and broke up the march when a few protesters threw rocks.
That demonstration and others in communities around the tightly controlled country marked some of the biggest displays of anti-government sentiment in decades, and authorities appeared determined to put a stop to it.
During a media briefing Monday about recovery efforts related to the condominium collapse in Surfside, Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nunez told reporters that Gov. Ron DeSantis is “actively monitoring the protests on the island.”