Palm Coast, FL – Her husband’s English isn’t perfect, but his memory is.
Married in 2003, the story Miguel Dominguez recounted to Alexandra Dominguez and their three daughters of the perilous trip lasting 19 days from Cuba to the United States in 1993 with seven men, is one none of them will ever forget.
When the demonstrations started in Cuba on July 11th, it sparked hope for Dominguez and fellow Cubans locally.
Rallying, the Dominguez family was among nearly two dozen on Thursday evening at the corner of Bulldog Drive and State Road 100, waving signs of support for a free Cuba and Cuban flags, drawing honks and shouts of solidarity from drivers just after rush hour.
“I felt happy we could come and let people know that we’re here for them,” said Dominguez.
“We want freedom for the people who have been suffering for 62 years and I think enough is enough,” she said. “My husband came over on a boat almost 30 years ago. All my friends are Cuban, my kids are Cuban-American, and I’m from Ecuador.”
It’s only been five years since Danaisy Medana came to America from Cuba, but the horror is still fresh. Taking youth from their homes to serve in the military, she implored the world to do something. Not a military solution but pressure. Pressure for change.
“I been here only five years and my family is suffering over there,” she said.
“The kids was outside fighting too and the police killed kids too. They are tired of live like that way. We need the United States, no go in there, but push with the army, no go inside of Cuba. The military people there scare them so the people no can leave the country alive,” said Medana.
Is she hopeful there will be change?
“I hope that. Our people in Cuba need it.”
Piedra Hita, says her father came to America in a kayak, and recalls clearly the things she lacked while living under the communist regime of Fidel Castro in the socialist nation. With family left behind, she knows what they are doing without today, and the fear of day-to-day life while oppressed.
“I just have to say that kids here do not understand what living without freedom is,” she said. “Cuba doesn’t have books, doesn’t have medicine, doesn’t have food, doesn’t have electricity, doesn’t have water, doesn’t have internet. Kids do not have shoes to go to school.”
Hita came to America 20 years ago when she was 12 years old, and says she remembers every second of life there.
“I have cousins there that are hiding because the government is going to their house and take them away. It doesn’t matter if the mom or dad is screaming for mercy, they do not care. Because the government needs children to dress as the police to fight against their own Cubans. The people in Cuba are fighting and it’s not just the police. The kids are recruited to fight. If they say no they get killed right at the front of their house,” she said.
“We all have families there. Right now we need internet because we don’t have no internet to show what they are doing to us there. Cuba is in the dark. This is not a fight for the United States, this is a fight for the whole world. We need the whole world to fight for us because we don’t have a voice. For 62 years our voice is gone.”
Miguel Dominguez stood on the corner and waved, secure in the knowledge his three daughters, all born in America, will have the opportunity to go to college and live in freedom, something his wife Alexandra is grateful for. As they continue to advocate freedom for their family members left behind, their struggles are never far from their mind and they hope this will be a turning point for Cuba’s future.
“He was trying to get a better life,” said Alexandra. “He has family over there. They don’t have food, they don’t have freedom. The government controls everything. You don’t have freedom. The United States needs to do something.”
A rally will be held in support of a free Cuba on Sunday at 3 PM at the Latino Market in St. Joe Plaza.