Cubans living in Calgary gather to protest government crackdown in their homeland

A small, but determined group of Calgarians with ties to Cuba rallied Friday evening to show solidarity with family and friends living in the island nation.

Earlier this month, thousands of Cubans poured into the streets in the biggest anti-government demonstrations in that country in decades.

Read more: Cuba cracks down on protesters amid anti-government demonstrations

They protested over food shortages, high prices and chanted “freedom” before police violently cracked down on them.

Ariana Ricardo joined a small group outside Calgary City Hall for the rally dubbed the Walk for Freedom.

She said many people are afraid to protest what’s happening in their homeland for fear of retaliation against their families.

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But Ricardo is adamant about speaking out and showing solidarity with those back home.

“I can speak for my people in Cuba,” she said, pointing out that at least one person has died during the protests. “I am showing the world how they are living. We are here for freedom for our country.”

Ricardo said she hasn’t had any communication with her family since Cuban authorities blocked phone lines and cut the internet in an apparent effort to stop the flow of information into, out of and within the country.

It’s estimated there are around 600 Cubans living in Calgary.

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