PATERSON, N.J. — On the heels of widespread protests in Cuba, where citizens are taking a stand against the communist government for its handling of the economy and coronavirus, signs of solidarity flew in Paterson, 1,300 miles away.
City officials raised the Cuban flag outside City Hall Friday, relaying a message of hope to the Cuban people.
Their fight for freedom has not gone unnoticed, according to Mayor Andre Sayegh.
“Communism is a failed system that created a failed state in Cuba,” he said. “It is unfortunate that people in Cuba have to suffer.”
Rev. Enrique Corona of Saint Agnes church in Paterson knows first hand about the suffering in his native Cuba.
Corona was a political prisoner and sentenced to 19 years behind bars on the island.
Now free as an American citizen, he tells PIX11 he is hopeful, but he said he wants more action taken by the Biden administration.
“This is not about left or right,” he explained. “This is about humanity. This is Cuban people, people who are dying. Cuban people’s lives matter too.”
Roughly 100,000 Cuban Americans call New Jersey home, and as unrest continues on the island, local leaders are vowing not to stay quiet.
“We are all Latino and we will support Cuba,” Carlos Medina, chairman for the N.J. Hispanic chamber of commerce said. “We share a love for family. We share our love for entrepreneurship, and more importantly, we share our love for freedom!”