Demonstrations erupt across Florida in support of Cuban people, call for end of communist regime

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Demonstrations erupted across Florida for the second straight day to show solidarity with anti-government protesters in Cuba and call for an end to the country’s communist regime.

From Jacksonville to Tampa and Miami, hundreds of community members took to the streets on Monday to rally for Cuban freedom.

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“To me, what it means is a possible end to an oppression,” Peter Merlo, a demonstrator in Miami, told WSVN-TV. “We don’t need to stand with Cuba. We need to act for Cuba.”

Cuban exiles rally at Versailles Restaurant in Miami's Little Havana neighborhood in support of protesters in Cuba on Monday in Miami. Sunday's protests in Cuba marked some of the biggest displays of antigovernment sentiment in the tightly controlled country in years. (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier)

Cuban exiles rally at Versailles Restaurant in Miami’s Little Havana neighborhood in support of protesters in Cuba on Monday in Miami. Sunday’s protests in Cuba marked some of the biggest displays of antigovernment sentiment in the tightly controlled country in years. (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier)

In Jacksonville, Fla., demonstrator Eduardo Ramos told local news station WJXT-TV that the Cuban people “don’t have any voice” under Díaz-Canel’s regime.

“We don’t have access to hospitals, food, medicine, anything,” Ramos said. “And people are dying in the street right now.”

Demonstrators in Tampa echoed Ramos’ sentiments.

“The longer we wait the more people will die,” Daniela Tamayo told WFTS-TV. “The longer that America waits to intervene the more people will die.”

Miami Mayor Francis Suarez joined demonstrators in calling for U.S. intervention in Cuba.

“The Cuban regime’s military police are shooting at unarmed Cuban protestors fighting for freedom,” Suarez tweeted Sunday. “60 years of communism, cruelty, & oppression cannot last any longer! We are imploring the USA to take action as we peacefully demonstrate on the streets of Miami.”

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In a statement Monday, U.S. President Joe Biden said Cuban protesters were asserting their basic rights.

“We stand with the Cuban people and their clarion call for freedom and relief from the tragic grip of the pandemic and from the decades of repression and economic suffering to which they have been subjected by Cuba’s authoritarian regime,” Biden said.

The U.S. urges the Cuban government to serve their people ‘’rather than enriching themselves,” Biden added.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.