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Thousands gathered in front of the White House on Monday demanding “libertad,” translated to liberty in English, as they urged President Joe Biden to help deliver the Cuban people from the island nation’s Communist regime.
Protesters waved Cuban and American flags, while others walked around with flags draped around their necks and waists, as they chanted in Lafayette Square in Washington, D.C. Protesters then walked a nearly two-mile march to the Cuban Embassy, where they brought their message.
“Patria y vida,” translated to “homeland and life” in English, was etched on T-shirts, and the crowd had members ranging in age and mobility, from children in strollers to seniors carrying canes. The park was filled with signs reading “SOS Cuba” and “Free Cuba from Communists.” Another urged Biden not to “be an accomplice of the regime.”
“[We want] the Biden administration to intervene,” one protester, who traveled from Miami to Washington, D.C., with her husband and has a son in Cuba, told the Washington Examiner in a Spanish-language interview.
“They are dictators, they are assassins, and they are terrorists,” another older male protester, who declined to offer his name, said of the country’s leaders.
Jeremy Beaman - WEX
Demonstrators took to the streets of the poor Caribbean nation earlier this month. Sympathizers gathered in Miami and Argentina in support as residents protested against food shortages, economic suffering, and the Communist Party’s six-decade rule.
The Biden administration voiced support for protesters shortly after the demonstrations began and has since announced new sanctions against Cuba’s military for its treatment of protesters during recent demonstrations.
A truck parked outside of the Capitol Hilton Hotel a few blocks from the Lafayette Square protest. Jeremy Beaman - WEX
Still, Monday’s crowd, which featured numerous speakers from Congress, including Republican Reps. Dan Crenshaw of Texas and Nicole Malliotakis of New York, demanded more action from administration officials.
— Office of Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (@RepMalliotakis) July 26, 2021
“This White House is supposed to represent freedom,” Crenshaw told the crowd, switching between English and Spanish. “This White House is supposed to represent the shining city on the hill.”
“Over 30 years ago, Ronald Reagan demanded that communists ‘tear down this wall.’ We need to hear that from Joe Biden today: Tear down this wall,” Crenshaw added. "Tear down this wall of oppression, tear down the 60 years of abuse, torture, suppression of freedom. It must end now. It must be sent to the ash heap of history.”
"But instead, he sleeps," Crenshaw said.
Protesters sought to make clear why they were in Washington, with numerous people bearing signage declaring themselves "anti-communista." Another dove into a history lesson of his homeland, seeking to implicate the late Communist revolutionary Fidel Castro.
The Virgin Mary accompanies marchers en route to the Cuban embassy. Jeremy Beaman - WEX
“It’s a lie,” a 57-year-old Cuban-American demonstrator, who identified himself only as Enrique, told the Washington Examiner when asked about the notion that recent activism against the Cuban government was sparked by the country’s handling of the coronavirus.
Enrique, who traveled from Miami to Washington on Sunday with his daughter and wife to join the march, has another daughter and grandson still in Cuba, whom he said he is trying to bring to the United States because of Castro's lasting legacy.
“[The protests] are happening because people want freedom,” he said, lifting his thumb and forefinger in an “L” shape to signify “libertad,” a gesture demonstrators repeatedly threw up during the rally.
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Original Author: Jeremy Beaman