MIAMI (WSVN) - It’s been one year since people in South Florida and in Cuba demanded better living conditions on the island in what were the most widespread protests since the revolution.
To commemorate that movement, several events are planned throughout South Florida, Monday.
“It’s ongoing. This is not something that stayed a year in the past. That uprising continues,” said Dr. Orlando Gutierrez-Boronat of the Assembly of Cuban Resistance.
“We’re asking for freedom for Cuba. Freedom for our country. We need your help,” said a protester.
One event was held in Little Havana at the Bay of Pigs Museum where state leaders spoke on the protests that took place last year.
“Hundreds of thousands of Cubans were marching on the streets, and they weren’t asking for medicines, and they weren’t asking for vaccines, they weren’t asking for food. They were asking for liberty, that’s it. Freedom, that’s what they wanted,” said U.S. Rep. Carlos Gimenez.
Several lawmakers commemorated an unprecedented uprising in Cuba one year ago when thousands of Cubans spontaneously took to the streets to protest the communist government amid a worsening economic situation, lack of food, medicine, all on top of the COVID-19 outbreak.
The people were calling for Cuba’s president, Miguel Diaz Canel, to step down.
Many of those that participated in the protests were jailed.
“More than 550 peaceful protesters have been sentenced to collectively 4,000 years in prison,” said U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart.
The movement in Cuba also sparked protests in Miami.
“We thank those a year ago that came out in Cuba and over 60-something places to protest like never before has been done,” said Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners Chairman Jose “Pepe” Diaz.
On Monday, they also commemorated the unprecedented protests in the county.
“To hereby proclaim Monday, July 11th, 2022, as Anti-Communist Day in Miami-Dade County,” said Diaz.
“Cuban people sentenced to 63 years in prison,” said a man in Spanish.
One man chained himself to a pallet of signs that read “I am a political prisoner,” symbolizing many who have been arrested in Cuba.
“The people in Cuba are hungry. They don’t have food, don’t have nothing. Cuba wants change right now,” said Alex Vazquez.
“We hear you. We feel you. We stand with you,” said a woman speaking to the crowd at the Bay of Pigs Memorial.
“Miedo has gone away. The fear has gone away,”said a protester. “They’re strong. They know that there’s a better life.”
Through the scorching heat and rain, hundreds took to the streets, and they even shutdown the busy Palmetto Expressway to demonstrate for Cuba.
“These people are asking for liberty. These people are willing to go to Cuba and die,” said a protester.
These protests spread across the country, including Washington D.C., where people gathered in front of the White House and marched.
The protesters asked the Biden Administration to intervene in Cuba.
“I came all the way from Nebraska to tell the whole world we need help. We need Biden to do something for us,” said a protester.
On Monday, Florida Senator Marco Rubio said the following, “We’re deeply disappointed that in the year that has passed, this administration has done absolutely nothing on the issue of Cuba. The person in charge of Cuba policy at the State Department was coordinating congressional trips to Cuba just a few years ago and was a key architect behind the Obama failed policy toward Cuba.”
A push for change that is not losing it’s momentum, some are demanding more.
“Don’t make any more concessions. Work with the Europeans and the Canadians to stop the money flow to the repression in Cuba, cause it’s resulting in a genocide,” said Gutierrez-Boronat.
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