By Team

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The coronavirus pandemic is a big part of what’s fueling the mass protests in Cuba.

Many Cubans are upset that the government is allowing unvaccinated tourists to visit the island with no regard for the vulnerable who have little access to healthcare.

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“They’ve opened up travel from Russia and the Russians that have been coming in to do tourism have been spreading COVID-19 and generating friction there among Cubans with many Cubans taking to social media to denounce loved ones dying because of the lack of healthcare. But also because of the irresponsible step taken of having this huge amount of tourism From Russia with folks that are positive for COVID-19. So I think this is sort of a perfect scenario for a social explosion and I think that’s what we are seeing,” John Suarez, Executive Director at the Center for a Free Cuba in Washington D.C.

Many are wondering if the outrage can be sustained.

“That’s going to depend on what happens with the military, the regime is called out their troops to crush this uprising. It’s going to depend on whether they have the support of the military or if there are divisions in the military,” said Suarez.

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“We need to raise attention with the international community to let them know that the Cuban people are out in the streets, demanding that, with very just demands there, they’re sick and tired of having their access to basic needs cut off, and at the same time, that they’re not allowing friends and relatives to travel in and out of the island to get them the things they need,” he added.

Dr. Andy Gomez, a retired professor of Cuban studies, believes it would take a significant move to make a significant change.

“Unless the Cuban military turns against the leadership of the Cuban government, I really don’t see any significant change, no matter what kind of social pressure we see in Cuba in the days to come,” he said.

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Gomez said anyone protesting in Cuba could face jail time. Team