West Palm Beach protesters call for US military intervention
WEST PALM BEACH – Around 100 people waving Cuban flags and holding signs demanding “Libertad” gathered on Sunday at the corner of Clematis Street and Dixie Highway in West Palm Beach, and many said it was time for the government American to act more forcefully in its relations with the Cuban government.
“US military intervention is needed,” said Keitel Leyva, a 23-year-old Cuban who holds a megaphone and sings in English and Spanish. “There are no other options.”
The possibility that peaceful dissent could soften Cuba’s authoritarian leadership has become “impossible,” Leyva said, after the June 11 anti-government protests across the island were reportedly met with mass arrests and violence from the community. part of the police force.
The Miami Herald reports that “hundreds of dissidents, students, artists, journalists, priests and even children” have been arrested, and some have not been heard from since their arrest.
“The road to peaceful protests is over,” Leyva said.
That leaves change by force and the only way to make it happen, said Leyva and other attendees at Sunday’s rally, is with American power.
“President Biden must help Cuba,” said Yoko Chang, 39, who said he was 13 when he fled the island on a raft with eight other people and was rescued by the coast guard Americans. “We need troops. Guantanamo Bay is right in Cuba. It would be easily taken.”
Biden called Cuba a “failed state” that “clamps down on its citizens” and said his administration was considering a series of responses during the July 15 remarks.
Oscar Gomez, a garage door installer who immigrated to the United States from Cuba in 2007, said the Cuban government was able to “hide the truth” about how it treats dissidents and opponents until as social media erupt with videos and images showing protesters being beaten across the island.
“Now people can see it in plain sight,” Gomez said, holding a sign that read “#SOS Cuba” and soaked in fake paint meant to represent the blood spilled by protesters in Cuba.
Sunday’s rally took place at one of the busiest intersections in the city center and could be heard blocks away thanks to car horns and explosions of Cuban music. Protesters braved the scorching midday heat to sing the Cuban national anthem before descending at Centennial Fountain and Flagler Drive, then returning to Dixie Highway to return to City Hall.
A similar rally took place on the Treasure Coast on Saturday, as around 100 protesters demonstrated in Port Saint Lucia.
Among them was Claudia Sanchez, 30, a Cuban immigrant who has lived in Port Saint Lucia for seven years.
“I want to make it clear that we Cubans are not asking for food or medicine. We Cubans are asking for freedom and democracy in our country,” she said.
Cuban officials staged their own rallies this weekend in Havana, including a Saturday that drew tens of thousands of supporters to the streets, according to the Associated Press.
President Miguel Díaz-Canel – accompanied by former President Raul Castro, 90 – called the United States an “enemy” determined to “destroy the sacred unity and tranquility” of the Cuban people.
Diaz-Canel ended his speech with “Fatherland or death! – a slogan mocked Sunday by the demonstrators in West Palm Beach, who shouted: “The motherland and the life!”
Treasure Coast News reporter Lamaur Stancil contributed to this report.