Protests in Cuba began on July 11 with thousands of people taking to the streets and chanting, “yes, we can” and “freedom.” The protests stemmed from anxieties about food shortages, coronavirus outbreaks and blackouts. Cuban Americans have been showing their support and staging protests of solidarity across the U.S., even here in Idaho. On Sunday, one of the Boise organizers, Raydel Perez Gonzalez, told the Weekly that people should be aware of the situation.
“We, the free Cubans in Idaho, are against the genocide and terror of the Cuban regime, and support the people,” said Gonzalez, “because just as Marti, a Cuban martyr, poet, hero and writer said: ‘One man may die to defend the ideals of the people, but the people may never die to defend the ideals of one man.’”
People rallied last Sunday and have made plans to meet again this Sunday July, 25 at 2 p.m. at the Capitol. The Casa Blanca Cuban Grill is promoting the rally on Instagram. People can find more information on their page, @casablancacubangrill.
There has been a lot of political and social unrest since President Miguel Díaz-Canel succeeded Raúl Castro. The country has faced multiple shortages and according to the Associated Press, “Cuba is going through its worst economic crisis in decades, along with a resurgence of coronavirus cases, as it suffers the consequences of U.S. sanctions imposed by the Trump administration.”
Gonzalez said the protests go beyond the need for food and vaccines; rather, he said, it’s about freedom and the liberty to choose their own future.
“This dictator has called war on its own people and we won’t stand for that because the Cuban people don’t have guns to protect themselves,” he said. “The military is killing the people for wanting change and thinking differently.”
Many Cubans fled their homeland during Castro’s revolution and Gonzalez said that because there are many Cubans living off the island they are coming together to create a new slogan, “Patria y Vida,” which means homeland and life.
“It sends a powerful and renewed message to the people that oppose the Castro ideology inside and outside of the island,” said Gonzalez. “It brings a new and undimmable light at the end of the tunnel.”