Local Cuban family reacts to protests in Cuba

Published: Jul. 14, 2021 at 11:56 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - Tensions have reached peak in Cuba, according to Chari Valdes-Pitts and her mother Dalia Valdes. People in Cuba are struggling to survive with no food available, money is tighter than ever for the masses because of the pandemic, and now because of protests in the country they say the government has cut off internet access, phone lines and electricity.

“If you revolted against the government and they watch these videos and they catch you, you’re gonna disappear, die, or you’re gonna go to jail. As of yesterday, there was a list of 60 people from Sunday’s protest where nobody could find them, they disappeared, and nobody knew what was going on. It was people from all different levels of society,” said Valdes-Pitts.

Pitts says the conditions are horrific for the country’s citizens and the communist government is pushing back against protesters.

“They are beating women and children on the street. They have zero remorse. They are sending police officers in normal clothes to try and mingle in the crowds and take over. They are beating people to death, literally. Some of the videos we got today… That’s exactly what is happening. Machetes, they’re dismembering people in the street. They’re basically trying to say if you continue with this, you’re all going to die,” said Pitts.

Valdes left the country in the 1960s. As a mother of two young children, she held them tight as she boarded a boat in secrecy in the middle of the night – hoping and praying for a better life in the United States.

She wants that for the rest of her family.

“Libertad” “Liberty, freedom. They’re not chanting for the food. They’re not chanting for the medicine. They’re not chanting for anything but freedom,” said Valdes.

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, whose family fled Cuba decades ago, says the United States will not allow anyone fleeing to enter the US.

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