Gloria and Emilio Estefan participate in White House session on SOS Cuba

MIAMI – Miami’s power couple Gloria and Emilio Estefan were among the Cuban-American leaders who participated in a virtual listening session Monday evening with White House officials, Cedric Richmond and Juan Gonzalez, about the U.S. response to the SOS Cuba protests.

Richmond is the senior advisor and director of the White House office of public engagement. Gonzalez is the senior director for the western hemisphere of the national security council. The meeting was closed to the public.

On Tuesday, Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, said the Biden administration is pursuing measures that support both the Cuban people and hold the Cuban regime accountable. That includes working closely with the private sector and Congress to identify viable options to make the Internet more accessible to the Cuban people, she said. 

“We are also looking to leverage our international organization partners to increase humanitarian assistance flows to Cuba,” Psaki said during a press briefing.  

The Biden administration is also identifying Cuban officials responsible for human rights violations against peaceful protesters. A working group will identify the most effective way to get remittances directly into the hands of the Cuban people, so “that money or funding does not get into the hands of the regime or allow them to pad their pockets,” Psaki said.

The Estefans have been using their celebrity power to magnify the voices of the protesters on the island.

Emilio Estefan, 68, who moved to the U.S. when he was 14, collaborated with the Foundation for Human Rights in Cuba, a Coral Gables-based non-profit organization. He released the new “Libertad,” Spanish for “Freedom,” song and music video. It was recorded in Cuba after a protest in November in Havana.

Gloria Estefan, 63, a three-time Grammy winner, moved to the U.S. when she was two. She has been calling on the United Nations to condemn the Cuban government’s violent crackdown on protesters.

Watch YouTube video of “Libertad”

More related stories in Spanish

About the Authors:

In January 2017, Hatzel Vela became the first local television journalist in the country to move to Cuba and cover the island from the inside. During his time living and working in Cuba, he covered some of the most significant stories in a post-Fidel Castro Cuba. 

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.