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'Lift the blockade!': Demonstrators rally at Mitchell Park demanding an end of the Cuban embargo

On July 11th, massive protests erupted on the island due to food and medical shortages as they battled another wave of the pandemic
Posted at 11:04 PM, Jul 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-26 00:04:22-04

Sunday afternoon, nearly 50 demonstrators gathered for a peaceful protest at Mitchell Park demanding an end to the Cuban embargo.

The group gathered in solidarity with the march also happening Sunday from Miami to the White House by Cuban Americans seeking an end to travel restrictions and the ability to send money to their loved ones.

A crowd chanted together "Lift the blockade, let my people stand! Lift the blockade."

Though thousands of miles away from Cuba, locals came together to recognize the suffering and shortages many Cubans are going through currently.

Organizer, Art Heitzer with the Wisconsin Cuban Coalition, believes the US should take a step back.

"We want the Biden administration to do what it said he would do which is to relax things so US and Cuban people can get along better and benefit from each other," said Heitzer.

On July 11th, massive protests erupted on the island due to food and medical shortages as they battled another wave of the pandemic. Some believe the blockade between the US and Cuba could have prevented much of the country's suffering.

Amber Morales has family in Cuba and has been challenged to jump through nearly impossible hurdles to make sure her family gets the resources that they need.

"So because of the blockade, I can't send the aid that my siblings nieces, and nephew need. I can't get them help when I know that they desperately need it," said Morales.

However, others believe it's more than just the embargo that is causing the shortages. Former Cuban Foreign Service Officer, Carlos Alzugaray currently lives in Cuba and believes the government is at fault as well.

"The government will always say no it's the embargo, its the embargo, its the embargo. It's a fact that there is an embargo. I think what brought this is the accumulation of the mistakes by the government and then at the same time the capacity of the government to recognize its mistakes," said Alzugaray.

Heitzer has acknowledged the flaws in the Cuban government however he believes that the first step in ending the embargo will do more for both the US and Cuba.

"We can learn from the Cubans and they can learn from us. We should have hundreds of thousands of US citizens going down to Cuba. Wisconsin, of course, has a big agricultural industry and our farmers should be able o sell to the nearby Cuban market without lots of extra restrictions," said Heitzer.

The Wisconsin Cuban Coalition has plans to host another caravan at The Mitchell Park Domes on Sunday, Aug. 29 in support of the Cuban people.

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