TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Cuba is seeing its biggest antigovernmental protests in decades.
Thousands of people took to the streets, protesting food shortages and a collapsing economy. Tampa Bay’s Cuban community is also showing their support.
For more than six hours Sunday, hundreds of people in Tampa stood in solidarity with Cuba. People filled Al Lopez Park and even slowed traffic on Dale Mabry Highway.
This is happening because in Cuba, people are calling out government leaders for recent food and vaccine shortages, and a collapsing economy. They’re also demanding more freedom.
Cubans in Tampa say enough is enough.
“It’s time for the Castro regime to go. We don’t want them anymore. They need to be out,” said Mike Rangel, a Tampa protester.
Demonstrators told 8 On Your Side they’re tired of watching Cuba suffer under the hands of the current dictatorship. It’s a system that’s been in place for decades.
“I have family and friends. I feel for them. I hurt for them. Many out here are hurting for them,” said Maria de Los Angeles Pimentel.
Cuba has been experiencing a worsening economic crisis, which their government blames on U.S. sanctions and the pandemic. Many of these protesters said it’s because of the island’s leadership.
“I’m Cuban, and I came here when I was 12 years old,” one protestors said. “I’ve been here almost 25 years of my life, and I think this is the first time that I’ve actually seen Cubans out there claiming freedom.”
Florida’s top leaders are also voicing their support for the protestors, including Florida Senator Marco Rubio, Florida’s Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Nunez and Governor Ron DeSantis.