Group calls for changes in Cuba

Published: Aug. 1, 2021 at 6:50 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 1, 2021 at 11:32 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Around two dozen people gathered on Sunday in Marion Square to rally in support of the Cuban people.

This comes several weeks after anti-government protests began breaking out across the island nation as people spoke out about the country’s economic crisis and its handling of the pandemic.

The latest wave of outrage stems from the Cuban government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and economic issues, but rally organizer and Cuban American activist Iskra Perez Salcedo says it’s the underlying issues with the one-party rule that are really fanning the flames.

“They’re asking to be able to have their own businesses, to be able to have their own economics, they don’t want to depend on the regime – the Communist regime anymore,” Salcedo said.

The group held a similar rally last weekend and pledges to continue to show support for the Cuban people as long as those people remained in the streets.

“The people of Cuba are looking at us for support, they’re looking for us to echo… what they’ve been asking for, which is their freedom,” Salcedo said.

Protests first broke out in Cuba in mid-July and have since inspired shows of support across the United States and around the world.

Salcedo says many of those out in the streets in Cuba are young people, which gives her hope that this time meaningful change isn’t far away.

“This is our time, I have no doubt,” she said. “This is our time; there’s no other time, it’s now, and that’s why I’m here and that’s why I ask people to come and support because the world needs to know that this is the time. Our country said enough is enough, 62 years is plenty.”

She also says it’s important for people here to bring awareness to the issues everyday people are facing in Cuba since the internet has been restricted there and Cubans can face severe penalties and even end up in jail for speaking out.

In addition to Sunday’s rally, organizers are also collecting medical supplies to send to the Cuban people to provide help amid the pandemic.

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