Cuban exiles remain hopeful of a free Cuba 2 months after historic protest on the island


ORLANDO, Florida – It has now been two months since the uprising in Cuba where thousands of people across the island flooded the streets to protest the government’s response to the pandemic and crackdown. But those in exile have not lost hope, like Annia Torres and her father, Leonel A. Pérez, who left Cuba after religious persecution.

“At school, every year they would go out to really bully us and ask who belonged to a church here,” Torres recalls. “I’ve always been very attached to the faith, so I wasn’t ashamed of it, and I always raised my hand.”

Torres and his parents were targeted in Cuba in the 1970s because his parents were evangelical pastors in his hometown of San José de las Lajas, a town south of Havana. After communism took control of the island, all religion was banned.

“Yo varias ocasiones tuve, ejemplo: en un servicio religioso cantando corito y de buenas a primeras una pistola aquí en la espalda y así preso y cuántas cosas”, declared Pérez in his mother tongue that on several occasions he spoke. has a firearm surrendered. back on duty – detained and imprisoned once for several days. He was a pastor in Cuba for 17 years.

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“En los primeros años de la revolución se crearon campos de concentración en el año ’65; pastores desaparecidos, Seminarios clausurados ”, he declared during the first years of communism, the Cuban revolution created concentration camps in 1965; the pastors have disappeared and the seminaries have been closed.

In 1981, the father-of-two said that after an agreement between the Cuban government and Cuban leaders in South Florida authorized the departure of pastors, their wives and children, he took a flight with his family for the United States.

“Cuando llegué aquí, con una pluma en el bolsillo, el pasaporte en la mano y con el corazón lleno de esperanza,” Pérez said when he arrived in the United States, he had a pen in his pocket, his passport in hand and heart full of hope. That same hope he felt on July 11 when he saw his people on his beloved island rise up and protest against the regime.

When asked if he still feels that hope two months after the protest, he said, in Spanish, that everything has its timing and that it will be at the moment of God when he decides when the time of his people will come like it happened with the fall of the Soviet. Union without a shot.

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“I believe}. I do, and even though you don’t see a lot of people on the streets now because of course we have to get back to work, and you know, but we’re still here, and some communities keep going out. and protest, ”her daughter, Annia said.

Annia, who has spent most of her life in the real estate business, said one of those protests was recently held in New York on Tuesday outside the United Nations, where, according to Annia, the discussion did not include the situation in Cuba. .

“They didn’t mention Cuba and I say to myself: what are they thinking? We have a lot of human rights issues in Cuba, and the United Nations didn’t mention Cuba, so yes, we don’t, ”she said, adding that she joined them all. the possible opportunities to defend his people.

“If you’re part of the Cuban community, we’re all active, you know,” she said. came out and they are no longer afraid.

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