Thank you for supporting our journalism. This article is available exclusively for our subscribers, who help fund our work at the Sun Sentinel.
Palm Beach County is showing solidarity with Cubans demanding freedom. A bipartisan group of city mayors, state representatives, county commissioners and Cuban businessmen gathered at the Box Gallery in West Palm Beach on Thursday to speak out against the crisis.
The show of support came on the heels of unprecedented protests across the communist-run island as well as in Florida.
“What is this all about?” asked Lazaro Mur, founder of the Latino Coalition of the Palm Beaches.
“Freedom,” he shouted, as the crowd erupted in applause.
During the news conference, The Latino Coalition of Palm Beaches announced its plans to travel to Washington, D.C., next week to rally in support of Cubans. Several speakers urged President Joe Biden to take action and get humanitarian aid to Cuba.
Rick Gonzalez, a Cuban-American businessman, called on the president to improve internet access for Cubans, which the island’s government restricted amid the rare protests on the island
Breaking News Alerts Newsletter
As it happens
Get updates on the coronavirus pandemic and other news as it happens with our free breaking news email alerts.
“Mr. President, do something,” Gonzalez said.
On Wednesday, Gov. Ron DeSantis sent a letter to Biden urging his administration to provide internet access to the people of Cuba who are “standing up against communist oppression” and “demanding a voice after decades of suffering under the yoke of a cruel dictatorship.”
Speakers also called for unity.
Cuban-American Rolando Barrero, president of the Palm Beach County Democratic Hispanic Caucus, recalled how Floridians often stick together during hurricanes, with neighbors helping and looking out for one another.
He said now, the community needs to band together and respond to the crisis in Cuba as if it were a Category 5 hurricane.
“Right now, no matter what our belief systems are, no matter what our party is, we need to look at this as a Category 5 and stand tall together.” Barrero said. “Ask each other, door to door, neighbor to neighbor, how can we help?”