Members of the Cuban-American community gathered outside the State Capitol in Phoenix on Saturday to demand freedom for their homeland, part of a nearly week-long series of daily protests in Arizona that began July 11.
According to protesters, the protests that have spread across the United States aim to urge the American government to participate in the overthrow of the Cuban regime through military intervention on the island.
The rally participants expressed their dissatisfaction with the Cuban government with chants and banners that read “Long live free Cuba” and “Down with the dictatorship”.
âWe are not fighting the shortage of vaccines. We don’t fight the lack of food. We fight for freedom, âsaid Ronal Delgado, a Cuban protester.
Since the protests began less than a week ago in the streets of San Antonio de los BaÃ±os, a community near Havana, Cuba, there have been massive demonstrations in the US and abroad. According to Delgado, there was neither a particular trigger nor an agreement among the citizens to trigger the protests.
“People just got tired and took to the streets,” said Delgado. “It was 62 years without freedom, 62 years without food.”
But the current reality of the protesters within Cuba’s borders is largely unknown abroad. The island’s internet connection was cut off on July 11, and the protests began that same day. Cuban immigrants have lost touch with their families on the island and many fear an aggressive response from the Cuban government to the demonstrations.
Pictures and videos shared on social media were the only glimpses of the events surrounding the protests for many. Some videos showing alleged use of violence by members of the local police force in Cuba have left an emotional impact on the US community
Suri Saday, who drove up from Tucson to take part in the Phoenix rally, said she had suffered from insomnia and multiple panic attacks since the protests began on July 11.
âI’ve been devastated since Sunday. I haven’t slept since, âshe said. âWe need intervention. I don’t like wars, but in Cuba they need them. “
Cuba has been ruled by an authoritarian government since the Cuban Revolution in 1959. The Communist Party has controlled the island’s politics ever since.
For more than six decades, the country has faced multiple humanitarian crises caused by a lack of resources. Over the past year, these challenges have been exacerbated by the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Protesters say the only way to defend Cubans’ rights and ensure their access to basic resources is through action from abroad.
“As long as there is no international intervention, nothing will change in Cuba,” said Delgado.
Carlos Alberto GÃ³mez, who has also attended several Cuban rallies in Arizona, said the people are looking for a more radical change: a new form of government.
âIt’s not just about having a little more resources,â he said. “They want to be able to elect a president they know will represent them.”
The protesters said that the crisis facing Cuba is greater than any previous one and that the human rights violations deserve the attention of international organizations.
“We need help from the United States and other nations,” said Gomez. “Cuban citizens deserve as much freedom as any other citizen of any other country.”
Reach reporter Laura Daniella SepÃºlveda at [email protected] or on Twitter @lauradnews.
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