Kaylee Greenlee on July 27, 2021
- Hundreds of anti-communists and Cuban Americans demonstrated in Washington, D.C. Monday to urge the Biden administration to intervene on behalf of citizens against the regime in Cuba.
- “The only reason that people survive in Cuba is because Americans here are sending them money,” Laura Celdran, 29, told the Daily Caller News Foundation Monday.
- One man asked the Biden administration to give Cuban-American’s the money frozen as part of the embargo so they can arm themselves and take back their country from the communist regime.
WASHINGTON — Hundreds of anti-communists and Cuban Americans demonstrated in Washington, D.C. Monday to urge the Biden administration to intervene on behalf of citizens against the regime in Cuba.
Many of the attendees participated in similar demonstration activities around the White House over the last two weeks, though the movement wasn’t organized by a specific group or individual, several attendees told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
Cubans participated in the largest anti-government protests in decades, which some have called an uprising, after an increase in COVID-19 infections combined with food shortages and federal crackdowns on civil liberties, Reuters reported on July 11.
“The only reason that people survive in Cuba is because Americans here are sending them money,” Laura Celdran, 29, told the DCNF Monday. “The first time I realized how difficult it was over there was when I walked into someone’s house — my mom took me to donate money to someone and all they had was a bed in an abandoned building, no ceiling, nothing, and those are the people that live solely off the government.”
Demonstrators marched nearly two miles from Lafayette Square Park to the Cuban Embassy to demand freedom for the island nation, only to find that law enforcement officials had set up a perimeter around the park in front of the White House preventing anyone from entering after they returned.
The protesters were eventually allowed to return to the park where a handful of people connected a microphone to a speaker directed at the White House and asked the Biden administration for help.
“Why don’t you face us, Mr. President? Why don’t you give a straight answer to our problems? We need you to show up, we need you to take action,” a man yelled into the microphone. “We only have one demand, dictatorships are no longer overthrown with words or sanctions or empty promises, that’s not the way to overthrow dictatorships. Dictatorships are overthrown with bullets and balls, so our request is very simple, we want intervention!”
The man said the demonstrators understand Biden’s hesitation to intervene with U.S. troops since such a move would require Congressional approval, and instead asked the administration to give Cuban American’s the money frozen under the embargo so they can arm themselves and take their country back.
Dozens of people were arrested during the first day of protests in Cuba earlier in July as law enforcement officials cracked down on unrest with physical force and pepper spray, Reuters reported.
“What the demonstrators did today in D.C. was a powerful and emotional display of solidarity with the people of Cuba. I hope it will be impossible for the current administration to ignore,” executive director of the Vandenberg Coalition and former Trump administration Deputy Assistant Secretary for Cuba and Venezuela Carrie Filipetti told the DCNF. “The current administration has said that it stands with the people of Cuba – now, Cuban American citizens are demanding they do more to prove that.”
The Cuban government has justified the country’s economic crisis by pointing to U.S. sanctions and the COVID-19 pandemic despite widespread civilian criticism of the one-party system and allegedly incompetent government officials, according to Reuters.
“That this took place on July 26 — an important date in Cuban revolutionary history — shows how this movement is subverting the old communist messaging in favor of new change that will finally bring democracy and freedom,” Filipetti added.
Fidel Castro led an attack against the Moncada Army on July 26, 1953, starting the Cuban Revolution, which Cuban’s have since celebrated as National Rebellion Day, according to Met Mexico.
Several protesters carried signs calling for U.S. military intervention, some advocated for unrestricted internet access for Cuban residents and others said the U.S. government should give basic supplies directly to the people because the government would never distribute them.
“I’m out here because of the oppression that’s happening in Cuba against the Cuban people, it’s something that affects Cuban Americans and our families,” Karen Rodriguez, 26, told the DCNF. Rodriguez’s grandmother and great uncle were held as political prisoners for 12 and 26 years for participating in pro-free speech protests in Cuba, she said.
“They have no basic freedoms and we’re just trying to continue the fight that they started 62 years ago,” Rodriguez told the DCNF.
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