TAMPA, Fla. — People from Tampa to Miami demonstrated and called for change Monday in a show of support for those protesting in Cuba.
“Freedom for Cuba” people chanted as they marched down Tampa’s streets, the cries continued for more than 12 hours.
“The longer we wait the more people will die. The longer that America waits to intervene the more people will die,” said Daniela Tamayo.
Tamayo said her and her mother were able to leave Cuba when she was 4-years old. It wasn’t until she was a teen that she said she learned more about what was happening. Now she shared concerns about the food supply, state of hospitals, COVID cases and communication with her family.
“This is the last message that I received from my dad at 3:24 a.m. He says there’s no connection they took it off and he says he just now saw my message,” Tamayo said showing us the conversation.
Others shared similar stories.
“Even though I was born here in the United States my family came from here to get away from the communism. My family went through everything, my husband went 21 days on the ocean to get to this country. We’re here for them, we’re here for us, we’re here for our family, for the future, and for the family that we have over there,” said Eileen Barrizonte, adding they haven’t heard from their family since Sunday.
Many called on U.S. intervention and wanted to know where elected leaders stand, looking for them at the protest.
“Biden we need you, we need an intervention, humanitarian intervention, military intervention, we don’t care, we just need something happen right now,” said Francis Vargas.
President Biden called on the Cuban government to refrain from violence. The White House stated:
We stand with the Cuban people and their clarion call for freedom and relief from the tragic grip of the pandemic and from the decades of repression and economic suffering to which they have been subjected by Cuba’s authoritarian regime. The Cuban people are bravely asserting fundamental and universal rights. Those rights, including the right of peaceful protest and the right to freely determine their own future, must be respected. The United States calls on the Cuban regime to hear their people and serve their needs at this vital moment rather than enriching themselves.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez and Tampa Mayor Jane Castor all tweeted supportive messages for the people of Cuba.
“Florida supports the people of Cuba as they take to the streets against the tyrannical regime in Havana. The Cuban dictatorship has repressed the people of Cuba for decades & is now trying to silence those who have the courage to speak out against its disastrous policies,” tweeted Desantis.
“Tampa stands with the brave people of Cuba, whose ancestors helped build our community. The fight for freedom and against repression is all of our fight,” tweeted Castor.
“The Cuban regime’s military police are shooting at unarmed Cuban protestors fighting for freedom. 60 years of communism, cruelty, & oppression cannot last any longer! We are imploring the USA to take action as we peacefully demonstrate on the streets of Miami,” tweeted Suarez.
ABC Action News also reached out to Rep. Kathy Castor’s office after protesters wanted to know her stance on the issue.
“As a longtime advocate for human rights, I stand with the Cuban people who are exercising their fundamental rights of free assembly and expression. The Cuban people deserve freedom and human dignity. America hears you and supports your calls for freedom from dictatorship, disease and poverty,” she stated.
In Tampa, protestors continued sharing their message into the night before concluding the second protest in recent days.