TAMPA, Fla. — Here in Tampa, hundreds of people lined Dale Mabry and Himes Avenue for hours to show support for their families and friends back home in Cuba.
“Viva Cuba Libre,” or “long live free Cuba” is the chant hundreds of protesters shouted for hours as they lined Himes Avenue.
“We want a completely free Cuba, our brother is in Cuba doing the same for a free Cuba and they in Cuba are shooting our brothers in Cuba,” said Julian Rodriguez who moved to the U.S. from Cuba.
Protests here in Florida came in response to protests in Cuba.
They say these protests erupted last minute to show support to their family and friends who are taking to the streets back home.
“We want our country to be free. It’s a beautiful island, it’s a beautiful country, but the Castros and their communism, it’s been 60+ years. We’re just sick of it,” said Carlos Rodriguez who moved to the U.S. with his mom and brother from Cuba.
The Cuban protests call for an end to communism, and they’re also protesting the food shortages plaguing many in the country.
“They have to wait in line for bread, sometimes there’s no soap, sometimes there’s no toothpaste, they have to wait for the rain to come to take showers, it’s horrible,” said Bryan Rodriguez who moved to the U.S. with his mom and brother from Cuba.
In addition to all of that, they’re protesting high prices amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and lack of vaccines and medication.
Sulayne Lastra, whose family still lives in Cuba, says her boyfriend’s father is in desperate need of medication.
“There is no medication, like his father, he has heart issues, and there is no medications,” said Lastra.
They’re calling for freedom back home so their family members can live there but also have what we have here.
“People are dying in the hospitals, we are running out of resources, we are dying, and we feel it here too cause that’s our brothers, that’s our sisters,” said Claudia Mojena.
They’re also asking the Biden Administration to step in and help.
“It’s not a red and blue thing, it’s not a republican or democrat thing, but somebody has to step in. This is it,” said Carlos.
Protesters said they would continue to protest as long as their brothers and sisters did so in Cuba, in an effort to show their support.