Statement addressing the ongoing pro-democracy protests in the Caribbean Island nation
Union County, NJ – The Union County Board of County Commissioners stands in solidarity with the people of Cuba as they continue to exercise their right to protest peacefully against their government. Thousands of Cubans have taken to the streets to demand the end of the communist dictatorship as they struggle with an economic crisis and food shortages made worse by the coronavirus pandemic.
“The Commissioner Board supports the efforts of the Cuban people during this tumultuous time,” said County Commissioner Chairman Alexander Mirabella. “After over six decades of communist rule, their chants for freedom should be heard.”
Protestors have been vocal about their discontent regarding Cuba’s economic crisis, lack of basic supplies like utilities and food, restrictions on their civil liberties and the government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. The protests began Sunday, July 11, and spread to more than 40 cities across the island.
In response, the Cuban government enacted an internet shutdown, complicating efforts by global media outlets to obtain information about conditions on the ground. Since Wednesday, July 14, internet access has been restored with limited capacity. Social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and What’s App remain blocked. Hundreds have been detained by Cuban Authorities or declared missing by activism groups.
U.S. President Joe Biden has called on the Cuban regime to “hear their people and serve their needs at this vital moment.”
“As Commissioner born in Cuba and duly elected through a fully democratic process in this country that accepted me and my family with the promise of equality and the American Dream, my heart and support is with the Cuban people at this time,” said Commissioner Lourdes Leon. “The basic rights those protestors in Cuba are demanding are paramount to true democracy and freedom and I am proud that this Commissioner Board recognizes in solidarity what they are fighting for.”
“I grew up with ‘grandparents’ who were from Cuba and heard stories as a child about the government and restrictions,” said Commissioner Sergio Granados. “A Democratic government is fundamental for a functioning society with freedom of expression and ample access to basic human needs such as food and medical care. This fight has persisted for decades and we stand in unity with the Cuban people in their peaceful protests. We are hopeful for the safe return of those detained in their pursuit for a just and democratic government in Cuba.”
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