DENVER (CBS4) – There is a crisis on the island of Cuba, and mass protests have erupted across the country, driven, in part, by chronic shortages of food, medicine, and hygiene products. The situation has been made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Cuban American Anna Alejo lives in Colorado, but still has family on the island. She’s watching unprecedented protests with the rest of the world.

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“Cuban citizens are essentially saying, ‘I’ve had enough,’” Alejo told CBS4’s Andrea Flores. “What we’re seeing are the largest demonstrations in Cuba in 62 years since the revolution in 1959.”

(credit: CBS)

Anna welcomed Cuban entrepreneurs to Colorado in 2017. She says COVID is playing a big role in Cuba’s economic collapse.

“They are frustrated with the one-party rule, they are not having basic needs, food, medicine, and supplies,” Alejo said. “This is the result of a failed economy that doesn’t give the opportunity to its people that they deserve. It’s a function of COVID, the pandemic, and the country cannot sustain its tourism sector.”

(credit: CBS)

Project C.U.R.E. in Colorado is providing medical supplies to Cubans in need.

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“We recently received a request for 1 million syringes to help the Cuban people. They have a three-dose vaccine, so we are working with our seven warehouses around the country to procure needles and syringes to administer the vaccine,” said client care manager, Sharon Wagner.

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As the unrest continues, Alejo says Cubans are calling for change.

“I think it’s a dam that is broken now, and form everyone that I speak to in Cuba, they say there is no turning back now,” Alejo said.

To help Project C.U.R.E., visit projectcure.org.

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You can also donate directly to Cubans at friendsofcaritascubana.org.