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Local protesters agree on change in Cuba, but differ on approach

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Posted at 10:22 PM, Nov 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-15 23:20:43-05

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. — Protests that started in July, continued Monday in Tampa Bay. The folks who came out to the corner of North Dale Mabry Highway and West Columbus Drive said they want change in Cuba.

"We just want liberty. We just want them all to be free. We want them to have their own democracy," said Cuban activist Julisa Orama.

The group said the country has been under oppressive leadership for decades. And they said it's led to poverty, starvation and poor conditions.

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Orama translated the personal story from a man who said he's an escaped Cuban prisoner. Jamiel Hernandez told Orama and ABC Action News that he came to the U.S. by boat and hasn't seen his mother in years.

"His mom's still there and he hasn't been able to give her a hug or kiss in 15 years because of the dictatorship. And my family is all there, too. It's sad. It's a sad story," translated Orama.

Orama, Hernandez, and the others who came out Monday feel that the Biden Administration isn't doing enough to support the Cuban people and intervene on their behalf.

"They just feel like they're being looked over. That our administration just looks over them like they don't exist and it's not right. And they're very hurt by the Biden Administration," said Orama.

In Ybor City, another group protesting was also critical of the U.S. government's approach when it comes to Cuba.

But this group said the U.S. has intervened enough. And they claim current sanctions against the country are what's actually hurting Cuba.

"It's causing suffering in Cuba. It's causing people to not have enough to eat. It's causing the vaccines to not be able to be distributed properly. It's causing people to not have enough medicine," said Karla Correa of the ANSWER Coalition.

And contrary to the first group, this group claims the Cuban people approve of the current leadership.

"The majority of the Cuban people support the Cuban government in Cuba," said Correa.