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Crisis in Cuba

Published: Jul. 30, 2021 at 8:31 PM MDT
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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - Today, President Joe Biden met with Cuban-American leaders at the White House to discuss applying new sanctions on the Cuban regime. The President met with Felice Gorordo, the CEO of eMerge Americas and the co-founder of Roots of Hope; Yotuel Romero, the lead singer of Cuban hip hop group Orishas and the author of a song that has become an anthem for the protesters; Ana Sofia Pelaez, the founder of the Miami Freedom Project; and former Miami mayor Manny Diaz.

In the meeting today, President Biden imposed sanctions on the Cuban police force and two of its leaders in response to the Havana government’s crackdown on protesters, and President Joe Biden promised Cuban-American leaders more actions were coming.

President Biden made a statement earlier this month which says in part, “We stand with the Cuban people and their call for freedom and relief from the suffering to which they have been subjected by Cuba’s authoritarian regime. The Cuban people are bravely asserting fundamental and universal rights.”

President Biden’s meeting takes place weeks after Cuba saw the largest protests in decades when thousands took to the streets to protest lack of freedom. A Grand Junction woman originally from Cuba named Julie Dominguez -Aysse hasn’t been able to freely communicate with her family back home in Cuba. She can’t send anything that her family might need because the Cuban government will seize it.

“People think that the Cuban people want medicine or food,” says Julie Dominguez -Aysse. “What they want is liberty. They’ve been under dictatorship for 62 years. I personally had an uncle executed by the Castro regime. Another one was in prison for 37 years. And this dictatorship started out with Batista, then with the Castro regime for 62 years, and now under Canal. I don’t even consider him a president. And they’ve had enough.”

Right now, all of Cuba’s internet and communication with the world is completely filtered and censored by the government. Julie’s communication with her family is completely censored by the government. President Biden is expected to discuss his administration’s efforts to establish free internet access for the Cuban people.

“Mexico sent 3-4 ships full of medical supplies and medicine,” said Julie. “That’ll go into a warehouse. It’ll get delivered to the communist party. And if there’s anything left over, they will sell it to the Cuban people even though it’s being donated. And that’s what people don’t understand.”

President Biden has directed his administration to examine the practice of Americans transferring money to their Cuban relatives to determine better ways for those residing in the US to send money to the country. As Cuba’s government controls the financial sector and all communications on the island. The President also believes that under the current circumstances the remittances would end up in the hands of the government, not the people.

“When you get arrested, before you’re even in the car, you’re beaten up,” says Julie. “When you get to the cell where they take you, they beat you. If you ask for your human rights, if you ask for an attorney, you get beaten. You don’t get a trial. Your family doesn’t know where you are because the system that they have is they get you and then transfer you somewhere else, they never let your family know where you’re at, and that’s what they did to my uncle.”

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