Press Advisories

ICYMI: Florida Politics Runs LIBRE Initiative Op-ed: Cuban protests a reminder to hold tight to family, freedom

Son of Cuban immigrants fears the worst, but hopes the best for his relatives in Cuba

(TAMPA, FL) – Florida Politics published an op-ed penned by Danny Martinez, Coalitions Director for The LIBRE Initiative-Florida and son of Cuban immigrants, responding to the freedom demonstrations across Cuba and parts of the United States: Cuban protests a reminder to hold tight to family, freedom. Read the op-ed here.

Below are some excerpts from the op-ed:

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.

I often use “brothers and sisters” to describe anyone who is a child of immigrants, like myself. It’s an occupational hazard.

For my mother, “brother” and “sister” are not so abstract. For her, when she sees what’s happening in Cuba, her mind turns to our actual flesh and blood family. The anguish on her face is palpable, her pain deep.

I have uncles, aunts, and cousins and in Cuba. My fear for them is more concrete than it once was.

For my mother, it’s almost unbearable.

As we sat together watching video of the brave demonstrators, I could see she was heartbroken.

Weeping, she made plans to do what she could. For us, the cost is mere money. We paid $130 to wire $150 to family members in Cuba.

One of the first moves by the tyrants trying to preserve their dictatorial power was to shut down communications, including blocking access to the internet

With no phone lines and no Facebook, we were out of touch and feared the worst — a not unreasonable assumption when dealing with a regime that routinely imprisons and murders its own people.

Fortunately, we were able to reestablish contact. Not every family has been so lucky.

My mother’s generation, the Mariel generation, fled the poverty, oppression, and human rights violations of a government that had held its people captive for more than 20 years. Now, more than 40 years later, Cubans have risen up — to protest the lack of food and medicine, certainly, but also to rally against the root causes of those shortages.

The blame does not lie with pandemics or embargoes. It lies with the socialist policies of the government that has, for six decades, inflicting pain and suffering on the Cuban people.

Being reminded of the struggles our Cuban brothers and sisters have experienced and are still experiencing, has reminded me of how precious and how fragile, are the freedoms and basic human rights we all enjoy.

There are no simple solutions and when they come, they must come from the Cuban people themselves.

Until then, we can hold our brothers and sisters, of every stripe, in our hearts, pray for their deliverance, and stand with them as they fight for the dignity every human being deserves.

Read the full op-ed here.