By Karli Barnett

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – As protests and rallies are held in support of the people of Cuba seeking freedom, singer Gloria Estefan said world leaders need to put pressure on the communist regime.

“They cannot go backwards, they’re not going to, this is not going to go away,” said Estefan.

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The Cuban-born singer is calling on the United Nations and specifically the United States to condemn the oppressive communist government of Cuba.

“The young people of Cuba have had it now. They don’t have any romantic ties to the revolution, or anything that may have happened 62 years ago. They’re hungry, they feel hopeless, they’re being jailed. They’re being tortured and it’s being hidden. People are dying in the streets and in the hospitals. It’s dire and things are not going to go backwards. If the government of Cuba thinks that this is gonna go away, they’re sadly mistaken,” she said.

For the last week, people in Cuba have taken to the streets to raise their voices against their government, frustrated with widespread shortages of basic necessities, lack of medical care, with COVID running rampant and a failing economy.

Estefan credits the early days of these mass protests to the San Isidro Movement that formed in 2018.

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“It was started by directors, actors, musicians on the island as usual. Artists are the ones on the forefront of pushing the envelope with things. And even though they’ve been censored for years and weren’t allowed to press what they wanted to do because they will be jailed, they’ve had enough,” she said.

Estefan knows the path to freedom in Cuba will not come without resistance. She was part of the 47th General Assembly to the United Nations back in the early 90s.

“There was an envoy ordered to look at human rights abuses in Cuba. They did not allow them in. They don’t allow the Red Cross and they don’t accept help whenever there’s been a hurricane that the United States and other countries have sent or wanted to send, they refuse to take it,” she said.

Estefan thinks now with widespread outcries that have gained the attention of the world that the wheels are in motion to make lasting change.

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“I would like to see a peaceful transition. I would love to see that government realize that their days are numbered because, just as the music industry was forever changed with the advent of the internet and social media, Cuba is down that same course,” she said.

Karli Barnett