MIAMI (CBSMiami) – For more than two weeks, people across South Florida have been speaking up in support of Cuba. The momentum has not slowed down, with crowds taking to the streets and even holding a vigil Monday, saying they are speaking up for those who cannot.
Calle Ocho in Miami was packed again in front of Versailles, with those calling for freedom for Cuba and an end to communism.
"This is our fight," says Megan Ramon, rallying in support of the Cuban people. "This is the young generation that is going to end this, and that's what we have to hold on to hope for."
Since July 11, protesters on the island nation have gone out to the street in unprecedented numbers to stand against the communist regime in a way never seen in their history.
"If they have the courage to go throw themselves out on the street, then so do we," says Bryanna Milagros. She recently returned from D.C. where they had a rally as well. "We have the privilege to be able to speak the way we are now, candidly, without having punishments or repercussions for what we're saying. At the end of the day, if they can't use their voice at this very moment, then that's what we're doing right now."
Many say they are hoping to get the attention of U.S. lawmakers. President Joe Biden announced new sanctions on Cuba last week, but some say it is not enough.
"We're asking for Internet for the people of Cuba, because they are cutting off the Internet. They are cutting off power," says demonstrator Johnny Navarro. "There's no way to communicate with these people, so right now that's the first step."
In Hialeah that evening, it was a more somber atmosphere, local leaders and about 200 people held a vigil for the demonstrators in Cuba who have been arrested or missing.
"Not only pray for the Cuban people on the island, but also pray for Nicaraguan brothers and sisters, our Venezuelan brothers and sisters, Peru, and Argentina and all those people that are yearning for freedom, says the organizer, Miami-Dade Commissioner René García.
"Not knowing what's going on in the island, in terms of the internet getting shut off and not really getting enough information from the island or the island is very stressful," says one of the attendees Gabriella Castaneda. "It's very scary."
Others say they are glad to finally spread awareness.
"For the world to see for the first time what really happens in Cuba and that Cuba is a tyranny," says Miguel Soliman. "What we see in the movies, what we see from the Nazis, that's what's been happening."
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy have drafted a letter to President Biden requesting a meeting as soon as possible to discuss how the White House and congress can work together to "liberate the Cuban people."
Another rally, the "Call for Freedom," will be held Saturday at 5:00 p.m. at Bayfront Park.
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