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Cuban Americans hold rally at Jose Marti Park in West Palm Beach

Local residents worry about family still living on island
Rally held West Palm Beach to support Cuban protests, July 13, 2021
Posted at 4:11 PM, Jul 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-13 19:44:54-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — A rally was held Tuesday in West Palm Beach to match the support we are seeing all over the nation for the protests in Cuba.

The gathering was at Jose Marti Park, a location that has huge significance to the Cuban people in Palm Beach County.

Marti was a Cuban patriot, artist and poet who all but invented the term liberty in Latin America

He became a symbol of the Cuban struggle to gain independence from Spain. Now, the struggle for freedom for the last six decades has been against communism.

"We really need the federal government to realize that yes, it's not good to intervene in other countries, but when other countries are abusing their people, people that have no way to defend themselves and we stand by the sidelines because of fear of intervening, that's not right," said Rick Gonzalez of West Palm Beach.

Rick Gonzalez, Cuban American from West Palm Beach
Rick Gonzalez is urging the U.S. government to intervene in the cry for help from the Cuban people.

Gonzalez, who is Cuban-American, was one of the organizers of the Tuesday rally.

His mother brought him to the U.S. from Cuba in 1961 when he was three months old.

He went back to Cuba in 2016, meeting fellow Cubans on the island and relatives still living in Havana.

"I haven't been able to talk to them, and I'm worried about them and of course everybody else in the city, you know, they are starting to take people away. They are starting to rough people up," Gonzalez said.

During a Tuesday roundtable discussion in Miami with Gov. Ron DeSantis, U.S. Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar, R-Fla., expressed concerns over internet connections being cut off on the island and urged President Joe Biden's administration to act fast.

U.S. Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar speaks in Miami on Cuban protest on July 13, 2021
U.S. Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar, R-Fla., speaks on July 13, 2021, at a roundtable discussion on the protests in Cuba.

"We know that the Cuban regime owns the WiFi services and the internet access. If the Cuban people cannot upload what's happening on the streets of Havana and all over the island, there could be a major massacre of biblical proportions, and we will not know about it," Salazar said.

Gonzalez said all of the videos and pictures he's seeing from social media clearly state one message.

"SOS is when you're in deep, dire straits. Cuba is sending that out to the whole world, not only to the United States, to Europe, South America, so let's answer that SOS call. Let's do something about that," Gonzalez said.

He said until there is action to show the Cuban people they are not alone, he plans to continue participating in these rallies of solidarity.

"Every day, if possible, until someone in Washington, D.C., hears us down here in Florida and realizes that this is a serious situation," Gonzalez said. "Six decades we've been waiting for this call signal, this SOS, that was sent out on Sunday."