Thousands of protestors are marching the streets of Cuba in what is being recognized as one of the island’s biggest demonstrations. At the center of the protests is a call for the end of the island’s decades-old dictatorship — as well as economic instability that the coronavirus pandemic has only aggravated. A lack of food and medicine coupled with record-high prices for both items have driven thousands to march on the streets of Cuba since Sunday. Dozens have been hurt, arrested, and detained from these demonstrations. The police response has only led to more calls for the removal of President Miguel Díaz-Canel. Citizens have been outspoken of Díaz-Canel’s handling of the pandemic, in which, on Sunday alone, the island officially reported 6,750 new cases and over 30 deaths.
The protests have gotten the attention of the United States. President Joe Biden called the demonstrations “a clarion call for freedom.” He added in an official statement from the White House, “We stand with the Cuban people as they bravely assert their fundamental and universal rights, and as they all call for freedom and relief from the tragic grip of the pandemic and from the decades of repression and economic suffering.” It should be noted that the Cuban economy has suffered more due to increased U.S. sanctions.
Protests have gone beyond the island of Cuba. In the streets of Miami’s Little Havana neighborhood, people showed their support with their own demonstration, which included Miami Mayor and Cuban-American Francis Suarez. “The hour of freedom has arrived,” he declared. “I have never felt such raw emotion from the people of Miami desperate for intervention by the government and by themselves on behalf of Cuba. This is the moment for freedom in Cuba. IT CANNOT WAIT ANY LONGER!”
Politicians weren’t the only ones offering up their support. Social media was inundated with messages of awareness and encouragement from celebrities looking to shine a light on the situation.
Camila Cabello updated her 53+ million followers on what was happening and showed her support of the demonstrations on Instagram. “There is a major crisis right now in Cuba and we need your help to spread awareness. Deaths from COVID are rising rapidly and because of the lack of medicine, resources, basic necessities and even, food many people are dying,” she wrote in the caption.
Pitbull lent his support saying, “Freedom is everything. We support the Cuban people in their fight for freedom in Cuba. Libertad, ya viene llegando. #SOSCUBA”
Actress Eva Mendes echoed the support. “Please help spread awareness. I stand with my people,” the post read.
Gloria Estefan writes, “The Cuban people are reaching their breaking point! I stand with them as I always have! #SOSCuba”
Gloria’s husband Emilio put together a video plea for his followers.
The support reached past Hollywood and onto the field of major league sport teams. The Miami Marlins posted the Cuban flag on the mound of their stadium in this poignant picture.
The Miami Heat also showed their support.