"Speaking with my father this morning about what’s occurring now in Cuba, I mean this is not something that’s happening today. It’s been happening for years," said David Garcia, owner of La Camaronera.
As word of what was happening in Cuba spread, South Florida's Cuban exile community came together in Little Havana Sunday, protesting food shortages and high prices amid the coronavirus pandemic.
"It’s really sad and really what we can do is just pray," said David.
David is a first generation Cuban American. He said his father and uncles are happy people are hitting the streets.
"Their voices need to be heard and we hope that change comes," he said.
David’s uncle and his father, Arsenio, fled Cuba in the 60’s after their fishing company was confiscated by the Cuban government. That’s when La Camaronera in Little Havana was born. It’s become a Miami staple that’s been open for over 45 years.
"They fished out of the Miami River, brought all of their seafood to this restaurant, where we had our processing plant in the back. We used to distribute seafood here throughout Miami as we did in Cuba," said David.
State officials adding to the conversation on Twitter. Ron DeSantis said in part: "Florida supports the people of Cuba as they take the streets against the tyrannical regime in Havana".
Senator Marco Rubio also responded and said: "Protests in Cuba aren’t simply about shortages. Socialism promises guaranteed food, medicine and income if you give up your freedom".
During a news conference about the Surfside collapse Monday, Miami-Dade County mayor Daniella Levine Cava also commented on the protests.
"We stand united with the Cuban people on the island and all across our own community at this historic moment in the struggle for freedom, dignity and basic human rights," she said.
David said he’s proud to be Cuban and hopes the support will help move the island to freedom.
"Not being able to eat, not being able to get medical care, it’s sad. It’s sad to see people actually going through the poverty that they’re going through. To my people. Our family" he said.