Many in SWFL protesting for freedom in Cuba will not stop public demonstrations

Reporter: Justin Kase Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:
A woman covered with symbolic blood on her clothing speaks during a freedom for Cubans protest in near the Luminary Hotel downtown Fort Myers Friday, July 16, 2021. Credit: WINK News.

After nearly a week of Southwest Florida protests showing support for Cuban freedom, people marched down the streets of downtown Fort Myers Friday alongside Fort Myers Music Walk.

The people we spoke to at the protest say they do not plan to stop demonstrating their support for their families in Cuba who are also crying for their right to freedom.

At times, we heard chants in support of the Cuban people coming from the crowds at the River District event.

Most people we spoke to said they understand why people are being driven to protest, and they say it’s even helping them understand something they previously didn’t know much about.

“Originally, we were coming here to enjoy the night, but I support them,” Trevor Ditman said.

“Before the protests, we had no idea what was going on, and I think these protests allowed us to seek out that information,” Chance Howard said.

Many of the protesters in Southwest Florida have lost all communication with their loved ones in Cuba, as they fight for their freedom.

“That could have been me. Like, that’s crazy,” Said Jade Dupuig, who left Cuba when she was a child. “I could have been there struggling. I was there struggling when I was little, and my mom took me out of there.”

Dupuig was finally able to communicate with her uncle after she said his internet was turned back on.

Maria Davila has not had a turn of luck yet.

“I’m feeling depression,” Davila said. “It’s now been going on six days, and I haven’t heard from anyone. I try to stay very strong, and I can only think what they’re going through.”

Many are left feeling helpless. Jackson Alfonso was born in Cuba and has many loved ones on the island, and he’s praying for a day when his family is free and safe.

“They’re tired, hungry, make you go to the street,” Alfonso said. “Kids are dying. They’re shooting kids. They’re shooting parents, your grandmother, your mother, your cousin. Everybody. It’s crazy out there.”

Many of the protesters say their family members worry about their phones being tapped, and they cannot speak freely about the horrible things that they are witnessing on the island.

The group that organized the rally in downtown Fort Myers Friday does not plan to stop hosting more rallies. They have rallies planned through the weekend.

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