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Cuban exile in South Florida commemorates historic protests with tributes

MIAMI – July 11 marks one year since the historic anti-government protests in Cuba and various events throughout South Florida commemorate the anniversary with support for the Cuban people.

“What we are doing today by raising that flag, we are sending a message that the fight is not over yet,” said Miami City Commissioner Manolo Reyes.

The city of Miami sent a strong message to those still in Cuba on Monday, raising the Cuban flag outside City Hall.

“Today we are going to raise the Cuban flag in memory of the protests of July 11th of last year, where Cubans spontaneously rose up against their government,” said Francis Suarez, Mayor of Miami.

Those protests erupted on the communist island a year ago and were heard around the world. Even for many here in South Florida who still have family on the island.

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CORRECTS TO PRO-GOVERNMENT SUPPORTERS – Government supporters shout slogans as anti-government protesters march in Havana, Cuba, Sunday, July 11, 2021. Hundreds of demonstrators went out to the streets in several cities in Cuba to protest against ongoing food shortages and high prices of foodstuffs. (AP Photo/Ismael Francisco) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

The message from city leaders Monday was to continue that fight, even as more than 400 protesters remain behind bars in Cuban jails.

“When that flag is raised, it is so that the Cuban people within Cuba know that we support them, they are not alone, to keep up the fight, because soon Cuba will be free,” said Joe Carroll, Miami City Commissioner, District 3 .

Miami’s mayor is taking a more critical tone, calling on the US government to do more to help those who continue to suffer under the island’s communist regime.

“And frankly we are calling not only the Cubans on the island to continue their heroic fight, but frankly, the president of the United States in this country who has the means, the power and the ability to have a coherent policy to help those who suffer in counties like Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela,” said Suárez.

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A fight for freedom that Miami city leaders promise will never be forgotten.

“The fight is still going on, and the fight is going to be going on until Cuba is free,” Reyes said.

In Doral, Senator Marco Rubio was one of the Republican leaders who spoke on Monday.

South Florida commemorates the one-year anniversary of the July 11 Cuba protests

“Children, entire families were sentenced to decades in prison and horrific beatings and treatment. We are deeply disappointed that in the year that has passed this administration has done absolutely nothing,” Rubio said.

The Biden Administration announced visa restrictions on 28 Cuban officials that, according to the United States government, involved the repression of the historic July 11 protests.

People like Donaida Pérez and her husband Loreto Hernández García are accused of public disorder among other charges. Paseiro was sentenced to eight years, while Garcia was sentenced to seven.

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Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State, released a statement to mark the anniversary:

“One year after the July 11, 2021 protests in Cuba, the United States recognizes the determination and courage of the Cuban people as they continue to fight for respect for human rights and persevere through repression for a historic year. We celebrate the Cuban people and commend their indomitable determination in the face of oppression.”

“Our two peoples share strong ties of family and friendship, as well as a fervent desire for freedom, prosperity and a bright future for our children. Through those ties and desires, we will continue to stand with the Cuban people in supporting their fight for democracy, including by holding officials of the Cuban regime accountable for human rights abuses, condemning restrictions on fundamental freedoms and labor rights, calling for the unconditional release of political prisoners and urging our partners to do the same.”

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“To the Cuban people: Americans watched with admiration on July 11, 2021, as tens of thousands of you took to the streets to raise your voices for human rights, fundamental freedoms, and a better life. And we stand with you as the Cuban regime, instead of welcoming the voices of the people, has sentenced hundreds of protesters to decades-long prison terms. It is unacceptable that today, a year after these demonstrations, more than 700 protesters remain behind bars. The United States will always stand with the Cuban people in their desire to build a better future.”

Copyright 2022 by WPLG Local10.com – All rights reserved.

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