YORK, Pa. — Cubans in Central Pennsylvania are speaking out about the recent protests on their home island.
“Every single one of them have the right to be heard," says Marlene Looney.
Basic necessities are not something Cubans can take for granted, say others.
“Food, medicine and electricity," said Dr. Robert Lesman, a professor at Shippensburg University, listing basic necessities some Cubans are currently doing without.
The lack of these essentials is magnified during the Covid-19 pandemic, he says.
“Since Covid, there’s been a 90 percent drop in tourism," Lesman says. "That has an enormous impact on Cuban economy. Covid itself is still under control."
So many Cubans are now saying enough is enough.
“The slogans of these protests has been ‘Patria y Vida’ which means homeland and life," says Lesman. "And what this means is that Cubans love their country, but they also need to live -- in the sense of existing as free citizens, but also in practical term, they need the basics of survival."
Looney has lived in the United States for many decades, but some of her family and friends still remain in Cuba.
“From what it seems to be from the reports that I’m receiving is that it is tense," she says. "Probably tense enough that you could slice it with a knife. But I don’t know where they’re going. It was very organic, spontaneous."
She says the access to internet on the island has been a key factor for Cubans being able to communicate what has been going in on in the island to the world.
Lesman says she believes that through orderly marches, change can happen.
“I believe that if they do their protests in a very peaceful methodical way that’s the way they’re going to get it," she says.
President Joe Biden met with Cuban American leaders to discuss new sanctions on the regime.
When asked if there will be more sanctions against Cuba President Biden said: "There will be more, unless there's some drastic change in Cuba, which I don't anticipate."
He called the situation in Cuba "intolerable," blasted the regime's censorship of the internet, called Cuban-Americans the best ambassadors for Cuba and called the government a failed regime.
He said there will be new sanctions against the Cuban police.