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Local Cuban-Americans react to protests

Published: Jul. 16, 2021 at 8:36 PM CDT
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Since last week’s protest, local Cuban-Americans have been calling for an end to Cuba’s 62-year communist regime.

“It’s where we come from. We just want our families and our friends there to live free,” protestor Nives Adams said.

“Living in Cuba is terrible,” Tony Viejo said.

One of those locals is Viejo. He was born in Cuba and moved to the U.S. in 1962 at ten years-old.

“You have no rights. You’re like a subject, not a citizen,” said Viejo.

Cuba’s current communist regime does not allow freedom of speech or voting rights. Now, Cubans are letting their voices be heard after all these years.

“You can be subject to arrest just for speaking your mind,” said Viejo.

CNN reports more than 100 people have been arrested during the protests in Cuba.

Cuba has been grappling with severe shortages of food and medicine throughout the pandemic. Viejo said locals have to ration basic everyday goods.

“Things we take for granted like toilet seats, toilet paper, soap. It’s nonexistent there. It’s rationed there and you’re lucky to get a bar of soap for a family of four for a month,” said Viejo.

They have also struggled with rising food prices and government-caused power outages.

“We need help. If anyone’s out there we need your help. Our people are dying,” protestor Leira Correa said.

Now locals are lending their voices, hoping to be heard by the people in power.

“I kind of wish that our government would take some action against that type of oppressive regime so close to us,” said Viejo.

Take some action for one common end goal.

“The freedom of our country, of Cuba,” said Adams.

“We want our country to be free,” said Correa.

“We want our country to be free,” one protestor said.

Until then, locals will continue to fight for that freedom in their home country.

Viejo calls the protests in Cuba an act of extreme bravery, knowing the possible consequences.

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