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“Patria Y Vida, it means your country and life”: Gainesville residents fight for Cubans suffering from communist regime

Published: Jul. 16, 2021 at 11:37 PM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) -Gainesville is more than 600 miles away from Cuba, but that is not stopping people from supporting the Cuban people.

“All we can do is listen to what the Cuban people want and follow that,” explained Alexandra Quintana.

For Cuban immigrants living in America, this is a fight they must undertake because their family and friends don’t have the same opportunity back home.

“I can tell you one thing, Cuba, you have nothing. You have something that was built until 1958, and after that, everything has come down. Be mindful of one thing, us the Cuba outside of Cuba, we are going to help you to bring Cuba again to what it was,” said Gabriel Rivera, a Cuban immigrant who lives in Gainesville.

Five years ago, on July 16, at 28 years old, Rivera immigrated to America. He said he’s hopeful the United States government can provide humanitarian aid to the people of Cuba.

“To bring medicines, to bring food. Also, you need to bring security. That said, humanitarian intervention will come with military intervention. That should be the steps to take by the United States,” explained Rivera.

Quintana is a University of Florida student and Cuban-American. Both of her parents immigrated from Cuba, and she organized the protest because she believes it is her birthright.

“To have this platform and be able to hold a protest here, be able to speak my mind and critique the government, be able to talk about politics, that is a privilege. I’m truly blessed to have that. That’s why I feel so compelled to speak on it,” explained Quintana. “This is something that they have strived their whole lives for. This is something they are fighting for right now.”

She said the horror in Cuba with the number of people being killed for speaking out is like genocide.

“Nobody should be tortured, killed for just speaking up against their government. That is the reality of the situation,” explained Quintana.

While the Cuban government is trying to silence the voices of people in the country, it is clear the communist regime can’t silence the voices of people in North Central Florida and across the country.

“Patria Y Vida, it means your country and life,” said Quintana. “That is what the Cuban people want. They want their country back and they want their life back.”

There will be another protest on July 28 at Bo Diddley Plaza.

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