The calls for the freedom of Cubans in their homeland continued Wednesday. People in Southwest Florida protested in rallies for the fourth straight day, standing in solidarity with protesting Cubans in Cape Coral, Fort Myers and Naples.
We spoke to Raul Rojas of Casa Rojas Cuban Bakery in Cape Coral Wednesday, where a protest for Cuban freedoms in Cuba was held. He says the protests mean freedom for him to run his own business, to get the goods he needs to stay in business and the freedom to ask for help from the government.
In the United States, he says, freedom is a God given right, whereas he claims it’s unheard of in Cuba.
“When I was in Cuba and when I was a little boy, I could not imagine the world out there because you cannot travel,” Rojas said.
Rojas and his family moved to the U.S when he was 13 years old, and his father opened up Casa Rojas — a dream that he says would have never come true for his family in their homeland.
“There’s no flour. There’s no sugar. There’s not a place for like a Sam’s or something where we go get stuff,” Rojas said. “They don’t provide you with that.”
Wednesday night brought people together outside of Rojas’ business. He is sick of seeing the videos of people being taken from their own homes in Cuba with no chance to fight back.
“The people in Cuba are the ones that are going to make a change,” Rojas said. “Now, they’re doing it. They’re starting to come out, and people are getting killed. Families are getting killed. Boys are getting killed.”
Luis Martin moved from Cuba to Cape Coral six years ago.
“There’s videos out there. There’s repression out there for the Cuban people, and you know, it’s really hard for us to watch and can’t do anything about it,” Luis Martin said.
The lessons Martin learned from growing up in Cuba will never leave his memory.
“Communism is the best thing ever and all that; they teach you that. That’s all lies,” Martin said.
People we spoke to want to see action from the U.S. government. They say they won’t stop protesting until they can help their loved ones in Cuba.
Even with rain, people showed up with Cuban flags to show support for the cause in Naples. Demonstrators gathered outside the Naples courthouse.
Nearly two dozen people gathered in downtown Fort Myers, where a group began marching at Centennial Park over to the area of the Luminary Hotel.
With his freedom in the United States, Martin can enjoy the simple pleasures in life. It’s something he wants for his family members who still live in Cuba.
“You need freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of everything,” Marin said. “That’s the main concern for us. We want them to be free.”