South Florida

Cuban Freedom Protests Gain Support From South Florida

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Protesters in Cuba continue to call for freedom of speech, the right to assemble and basic supplies, after a group of artists, musicians, independent journalists and other creatives known as the "San Isidro" movement went on a hunger strike recently to call attention to the lack of freedoms on the island.

One of those members, Michel Matos called for peaceful protests during a virtual press conference held Monday.

"With our art, culture, words, our physical bodies…with this media we have decided to denounce the state of things that are happening. We have decided to say 'enough,'" said Matos.

Iliana Hernandez is one of the journalists involved in the movement. It’s going to be much easier to protest and demand change, then to continue hiding from our reality and fleeing the island, she said.

The dissident movement is markedly different than past uprisings in that its protestors are armed with cell phones, social media and internet, albeit sketchy. This is how the mostly young dissidents have sparked support from people in cities throughout Cuba and the world including Miami, where hundreds of people gathered in solidarity with the San Isidro movement this past weekend.

Ramon Saul Sanchez, a well-known Cuban activist in South Florida, shares his support for the group, whose members claim they have been beaten and unjustly arrested over the past few days for expressing their opposition to the Cuban dictatorship.

"The support has to be in accordance with what is happening inside of Cuba. Non-violence, respect for the rights of others, tolerance on our side. We have to do that because we cannot be the same thing that we condemn," said Sanchez.

The unrest began after Cuban authorities broke up a group of members of the San Isidro movement Thursday. The 14 people were protesting the imprisonment of rapper Denis Solis, who remains imprisoned. The Cuban government called members of the San Isidro movement as well as other dissident groups terrorists with links to the United States.

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