People in SWFL hear cries for freedom in Cuba, rally in Golden Gate

People are showing their support for the demonstrators in Cuba in the Unites States, and many supporters in the U.S. are in Florida.

Patria Y Vida held a rally Monday outside Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart’s office at Golden Gate Community Center Monday in support of citizens in Cuban who are pushing back against their communist government.

Hundreds of people gathered in a parking lot to to support their friends and family who are struggling in Cuba.

“We need freedom in our country. This has to be enough,” said Daniela Broche, explaining the current protests in Cuba must spark change for freedom. “They don’t have no food, no money, no nothing. This is incredible.”

Broche was born in Cuba and moved to the U.S. when she was 10 years old. Her pain for her family that still lives there is indescribable. But it did bring her some joy to see the local Cuban community gathered at the Golden Gate Community Center in solidarity with the Cuban people.

“We have been fighting 62 years,” Broche said. “It’s not easy. My grandma is still over there.”

The community hopes to plan another protest Tuesday in support of Cuba in downtown Naples.

People in Southwest Florida are hearing those cries for freedom and answering. Community members also gathered in downtown Fort Myers Monday in support of the Cuban protest.

“It hurts that I can’t go go to my own country and be free,” said Dayla Isaac, who helped organize in Fort Myers. “I can’t be with my family. No one here can be with their family, who are dying from simple hunger.”

“Fidel Castro is not there; Raul Castro is not there, so there is a new regime,” said Jaime Suchlicki, a Cuban immigrant and the founder of Cuban Studies Institute in Miami.

Years ago, Suchlicki prepared a study for Florida in case the Cuban people rose up.

“We prepared a lot of plans years ago for Florida on what to do and how to react to this kind of a situation, so there is literature, and there is work that has been done in this respect,” Sucklicki explained. “The question is how is the State of Florida going to react? Will the governor allow Cubans to come in? How many will he allow?

That question does not fall on the governor alone to answer. Gov. Ron DeSantis’ press secretary told us in a statement he stands with the people of Cuba.

That mirrors what President Joe Biden said Monday when he called on the Cuban regime to serve the needs of its people rather than enriching themselves.

“There is a significant amount of coronavirus in Cuba, and there is that problem here, but we have vaccinations, so that won’t be too significant of a problem,” Suchlicki said. “The problem is feeding and taking care of this population

We also spoke with the Lt. Gov. Jeanette Núñez Monday, and she told us it’s important to think about a mass exodus from Cuba, but she said we can’t think about that before the U.S. helps the Cuban people survive.

“It’s not just enough to say we stand with the Cuban people,” Núñez  told WINK News. “You have to identify your policy positions. What are you willing to do to bring freedom in this decades-long quest, and I think that’s something that’s going to be very telling to see how the Biden administration handles this”

In Cuba, the people say the spread of the coronavirus is out of control. There’s no medicine and there’s little food.

“The Cuban people with their pesos cannot buy what they need,” Estela Delgado explained. “And this is not a problem of the embargo. This is not a problem of COVID. This is a product of the mentality of that regime.”

Delgado moved to the U.S. 22 years ago.

Like many Cuban exiles, she left behind her family in hopes of a better future.

“I went out on a Cuban mission,” Delgado said. “I was an official back then for the government, and I understood already that system was a failed system, and that we weren’t working for the Cuban people, so I decided to leave them.”

On Sunday, Delgado lost contact with her family and friends because the government saw the power of videos being shared form Cuba were spreading on social media, and it cut the internet.

“They had to cut electricity to do in the darkness what they cannot do in the daylight,” Delgado said.

Delgado is worried about her homeland, but more than that, she is proud of her people.

“Cuban people don’t have weapons. All were unarmed citizens simply saying, ‘Freedom, freedom, freedom. Down the dictatorship,’” Delgado said. “And fear is the only item that has kept them in power and people lost fear.”

Estella Delgado believes what is happening is a game changer in Cuba. That for the first time in many decades, the people will have a chance to decide their fate.

Reporter:Taylor Smith
Dannielle Garcia
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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