Cuban Americans in Roanoke hold rally to end US blockade on Cuba

Roanoke Valley News

ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — The crisis in Cuba is a dilemma everyone has been talking about. As protesting continues against living conditions and shortages in the country, one group is taking action.

A group of Cuban Americans is walking from Miami to Washington D.C. to deliver a petition to the White House about ending the U.S. blockade on Cuba.

They stopped on Sunday, July 18 for an event at Saint James Episcopal Church in Roanoke.

Cuban American Professor Carlos Lazo and six other Cuban Americans are the ones making this 1,300 mile walk to the White House.

They left Miami on June 27 and expect to get to D.C. on July 25.

While in Roanoke, they talked about the seriousness of the issue in Cuba. They say their families are either starving or close to it.

“We were able to send to our families, you know, $100 every month. And they survived, and it was okay. But now, they are starving,” said Lazo.

He and five other walkers say they just want to support their family during Cuba’s economic crisis.

“When President Biden arrived at the White House, he promised that he would lift sanctions as soon as he arrived. And so far, six months later, he has done nothing,” said Lazo.

Michael Bentley is a member of Virginia’s Plowshare Peace Program, which hosted the group during dinner. He says it’s disheartening to see the U.S. government let this happen.

“It’s just incredible that this embargo has lasted for 62 years, and that we have added 242 additional sanctions to strangle the Cuban people,” added Bentley. “For what?”

Roberto Yis is a group organizer for the pilgrimage. He says all of his family is in Cuba.

“I want to help them, and I can’t send money through Western Union. I can’t fly straight to Holguin where I’m from. I can’t send medicine to my mom who is sick. She has MS, multiple sclerosis,” said Yis.

The petition currently has more than 25,000 signatures from people asking for the lifting of the illegal U.S. embargo causing great suffering for the Cuban people.

“No matter how you think, either right or left, there’s one common ground including all of us. That is family, the love for our family. These sanctions are not hurting the government. The people from Cuba are the ones who are suffering,” said Yis.

The group’s next stop will be in Richmond. Following that, the group will head to D.C., where they’ll be joined by hundreds of others calling for action.

For breaking news delivered to you, subscribe to WFXR’s breaking news email list

Get breaking news, weather, and sports delivered to your smartphone with the WFXR News app available on Apple and Android.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

News tips

Do you have a news tip or breaking news to share with WFXR?  Submit your tip here.

Latest News

More News

News Tip Form