MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Miami Mayor Francis Suarez and President Joe Biden are joining other prominent elected officials and Cuban exiles in speaking out about the protests in Cuba.
They responded Monday to the unprecedented images of thousands of people in the streets of Havana and other Cuban cities calling for an end to the dictatorship and demanding more food and vaccines as coronavirus cases have soared. There is also a dire shortage of basic necessities in Cuba. Hundreds of Cuban exiles and others demonstrated in Miami on Sunday as well in support of those in Cuba.READ MORE: Seminoles Suspend Sports Betting After Court Rulings
On Monday, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench that Sunday’s demonstrations in Cuba were “a spontaneous uprising that has never happened in the last 60 years. It happened in more than a dozen cities across Cuba.”
Outside the Versailles restaurant, Suarez said, “The United States and the international community must do something now. The people of Cuba need medicine. They are starving. They are in need of international help. Unless the Cuban military turns on the government, the people of Cuba will continue to be oppressed without any hope of freedom in the future.”
President Joe Biden said the United States “stands firmly” behind the people of Cuba after the “remarkable protest in Cuba, with the Cuban people demanding their freedom from an authoritarian regime. I don’t think we have seen anything like this protest in a long, long time, if ever.”
Biden said, “The United States stands firmly with Cuba as they assert their universal rights and we call on the government, the government of Cuba to refrain from violence and the attempt to silence the voice of the people of Cuba.”
In Cuba, Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel accused Cubans of stirring up trouble through social media leading to demonstrations and he blamed U.S. sanctions for the problems in his country.
Diaz-Canel said, “To the shortage of food and medicine and to the problems of shops selling in foreign currency. All those issues that are present in our society, such as dissatisfaction, what are their origins? What caused them? The U.S. blockade.”
Lt. Governor Jeanette Nunez said the governor is monitoring the events in Cuba.READ MORE: 23rd Annual 'A Home For The Holidays At The Grove' Comes To CBS On Sunday, December 5th
“We remain steadfast in our support of freedom and democracy,” she said. “As the governor said yesterday, the government supports the people taking to the streets against the tyrannical regime that has plagued them for so many decades.”
Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said, “We stand united behind the Cuban people on the island and all across our own community at this historic moment in the struggle for freedom, dignity and basic human rights.”
Outside the Versailles restaurant, demonstrator Mary Faraldo said, “I am asking for all news channels to come together with one qualified message and that is open the satellites, open the satellite feeds to Cuba so people can be heard. This can be done by the State Department within hours. Open the satellites and let the Cuban people be heard.”
Cuban exile Eloy Guanche said, “No Castro, no communism. Communism has got to go out the door.”
Another Cuban exile Alain Gomez said, “People are fighting in the streets for freedom. The people of Cuba have many problems. They need for and freedom.”
On Monday afternoon, hundreds of people who drove by the Versailles restaurant honked their horns in support of a smaller group of demonstrators outside the business.
More demonstrations are expected.MORE NEWS: Sharp Increase In Hospitalized Children With Covid Investigated In South Africa
The Assembly of the Cuban Resistance called for a massive rally starting at 5 p.m. Tuesday at Tamiami Park.