WASHINGTON (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 21st July, 2021) A group of US Cuban activists are marching throughout the country to protest against Washington's longtime embargo on the island nation and draw attention to the suffering it has caused, group leader Carlos Lazo told Sputnik.
The White House has slammed the Cuban government for its crackdown on protests amid the country's economic crisis and on Tuesday even threatened to sanction officials. President Joe Biden last week said the United States will not allow Americans to send money to relatives in Cuba.
US restrictions on trade with Cuba date back to the island nation's communist revolution in the late 1950s and involve at least a half dozen different American laws. President Barack Obama took steps to normalize bilateral relations with the island, but the policy was reversed by the Trump administration.
"Most regulations have hurt overall Cuban people. For example, during the last two years, the Trump administration implemented sanctions and tightened sanctions that create suffering of the Cuban people," Lazo said.
"Even the American embassy in Havana was closed, and now, if people want to get a visa and visit families, they have to deal with the difficulty of going to other countries to try to get those visas," he said.
"I have been the witness of all this suffering that the embargo has caused to the Cuban families during many years," Lazo said. "The embargo was established with intent of overthrowing the Cuban government, but all the measures implemented by the embargo really hurt innocent Cuban people. I have seen that for so many years."
In fact, the activists see the embargo as a major cause of the recent protests in Cuba.
"I think, these protests are fueled by the fact that this embargo has created desperation on the Cuban people [and] hunger," Lazo said. "That made people to get desperate and go to the street because they do not have food, medications."
Lifting the embargo will allow Americans to provide real support for the Cubans, he added.
"In our way, we have found support from many Americans, who find this blockade as something very unhuman and unjust," he said, adding that the group of six activists does approximately 60 miles per day.
The activists are going to churches, local organizations and communities, explaining their position on the embargo. They already visited Orlando, St. Augustine, Jacksonville, Atlanta, Raleigh and other big cities and small towns, Lazo said.
In North Carolina they were able to meet with members of the state Senate, he added.
"We have a peaceful march and do not see any opposition from the police on the way. We received only support from Americans," he said. "However, in Miami in the beginning we got several threats, especially from those Cuban Americans who oppose our efforts."
Some tried to hit group members with their car, other opponents sent death threats online, with many accusing them of sympathizing with communists.
Lazo said these accusations are not true.
"We are doing this rally as a work of love," he concluded.