Across the country and in two languages, staff and activists from The LIBRE Initiative are standing with Cubans protesting the lack of political and economic freedom in their homeland.
In opinion pieces in the Las Vegas Sun, Florida Politics and La Conexion USA, Eddie Diaz, Danny Martinez, and Richard Bethencourt related stories of friends and family members caught up in the struggle for freedom.
“Watching the protests in Cuba over the past few weeks brought to mind the stories shared by my mother, who fled the island as part of the Mariel boatlift in 1980,” Martinez wrote.
Diaz told the story of Yovanys Serrano, whose family was finally able to flee Cuba in 2008 after years of oppression.
Writing in Spanish, Bethencourt writes of North Carolina resident Laidis Derosier, who remember that “when my parents decided to leave Cuba, we were denied permission. We couldn’t leave. It was like living in a huge prison.”
What ties all their stories together is the dream of freedom, and their concern for friends and family who remain under the thumb of the dictatorship that denies the Cuban people human rights and economic opportunity.
“We face challenges in this country, and have our brand of socialists who hope to replicate here the failed systems of Cuba and Venezuela,” Bethencourt writes (English translation). “But nothing we face compares to the generations-long agony of the Cuban people.”