‘We need to support each other’: Local Cubans speak out amid protests on island

Local News

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Political unrest in Cuba is causing a ripple effect across the United States. Protests erupted in the streets of Havana and in various U.S. cities this week.

Since then, the government has blocked internet access to many people living on the island.

Cynthia Santana has relatives that still live there, but most of her family now resides in Miami.

“The Cuban government oppressing their people, killing people in the streets, and taking over their human rights is something that’s been going on since the 60s,” said Santana, “since my grandparents fled Cuba.”

Santana opened the Cuba Window Cafe in 2020. She and her husband were laid off during the pandemic and hoped to bring a taste of Little Havana to the Hostess City.

“When we moved up here, I was concerned about where I was going to get my afternoon Cuban coffee,” said Santana. “It was just something that I felt Savannah would enjoy and, in fact, Savannah is enjoying us, and we love it.”

Back home in Santana’s home city of Miami, a predominantly Cuban community, people have been taking to the streets in support of family and friends on the island.

As they continue to battle the pandemic, people have been protesting shortages of food, water and energy.

“We want what’s best for the Cuban people,” said Santana. “We want them to be free, not to be murdered in the streets…to have access to food and medical care and all things that every human being deserves.”

Many Cubans have lost internet access amid the protests. On Thursday, the Biden administration said they would consider intervening.

Santana still has relatives on the island and says she’ll continue to support her people.

“As Hispanic Americans, we need to support each other and make sure that we are helping each other to be able to grow forward for our future families and future generations,” said Santana.

Santana says there will be a rally Saturday at Forsyth Park. She says organizers will be meeting at the tennis courts at 6:30 p.m.

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