WASHINGTON (WSVN) — Hundreds of Cuban Americans from across the U.S., including South Florida, traveled to the nation’s capital to take their calls for freedom in Cuba all the way to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
7News cameras captured New York resident Dustin Garcia, his face and white T-shirt made to appear bloodied, as he walked back and forth and waved the Cuban flag in front of the White House, Saturday afternoon.
“I feel sad. I feel sometimes like I want to go with them and join them and fight with them, but the only thing that I can find to support them right now is being here for them and doing anything possible to fight for them,” he said.
One of many signs in Spanish being held up read, “If Cubans are on the street, so are we out here.”
Protesters remained in front of the White House well after the sun went down.
Demonstrator Lisandra Terrero said the protests are the only way someone will listen.
“This is about life, and every second counts, and while the president is thinking what he’s going to do, people are dying in Cuba,” she said.
Camila Fernandez, who lives in Virginia, is only 10, but she seems to understand the meaning of these demonstrations.
“I’m here to tell please to Joe Biden, if they can help all the Cubans, that they need food, they need water, clean water. The kids need toys,” she said. “You see, in America, we have almost everything, so we need everyone in Cuba to have the same things.”
Among the protesters who filled Pennsylvania Avenue and Lafayette Square were Oscar Martinez and his group.
“We want the world to know what’s going on,” he said.
Martinez said he and the rest of his group took a bus from Miami.
“There’s nothing else I can do. I can’t jump on a boat and go save them by myself, so I’ve got to be in the only place where I can make a difference, and that’s in front of the White House,” he said. “I hope for the best and that the rest of the world sees our message.”
Cuban Americans want their voices to be heard. Many of them visited the Cuban Embassy in Washington, D.C., Saturday, to find music blasting from speakers.
“They are using our own music to stop our voices,” said Texas resident Ivis Rodriguez.
Demonstrators’ loud chants eventually drowned out the music.
“Let’s see if they can hear us since we’re closer now,” said New Jersey resident Darina Alarcon.
A banner decorating the front of the Cuban Embassy reads “Cuban lives matter. End the blockade now!”
“This is not the message. This is a farce,” said Rodriguez. “We are fighting for freedom, only that, freedom. No more an excuse about this.”
Cuban Americans who spoke with 7News said they plan to keep taking steps forward toward freedom, thanks to a movement that Cubans on the island started Sunday.
“We are so proud of this young generation. We were thinking that the hope was lost, and the hope was just underneath, and it’s rising,” said Rodriguez.
Demonstrators said their protests are not just about freedom for Cuba, but also about freedom for other countries in the same position.
Martinez said some of the people in his group headed back to South Florida Saturday night, and the rest of them will go back Sunday.
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