EDINBURG (KVEO) — The roars of a goal can be heard loud and clear when the Toros hit the back of the net at H-E-B Park in Edinburg.
The cheers pale in comparison, however, to the cries of freedom.
RGV FC Toros defender Adrian Arturo Diz Pe knows both sounds all too well.
A native of Cuba, Diz Pe hasn’t been to his home island in over five years. The country has made recent headlines as protests against historic dictatorial control gain traction over social media. Diz Pe has seen his country secluded from the rest of the world for most of his life, but he hopes a new future is on the horizon.
“My whole family lives in Cuba,” Diz Pe said in a Spanish interview translated to English for publication. “The people have woken up and they are fighting for their freedom of speech.”
On July 11, thousands of Cuban nationals took to the streets to protest the country’s current dictatorship, citing a lack of basic needs like food and medicine. Though internet availability is limited, videos from the protest hit timelines and boards across multiple social media platforms. The reception has caught the attention of major world leaders, including the United States of America President Joe Biden.
“Communism is a failed system,” President Biden said. “The United States stands firm with Cuba.”
But words aren’t enough for Arturo.
“My hope is that the United States will enter Cuba,” Diz Pe said.
It’s happened before.
From December 20, 1989, to January 31, 1990, U.S. troops invaded Panama in an effort to rid the country of general and dictator Manuel Noriega, according to a report from the BBC.
Above all, Diz Pe is hoping his country’s message is heard by the world.
“It’s hard, the day to day, trying to connect with my country while pursuing my dream of playing soccer,” Diz Pe said. “We need our message to be heard. We are fighting for a better country.”