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Miami caravan against Cuba blockade a huge success

By staff

Miami protest demands end to blockade of Cuba.

Miami, FL- Over 60 members of the South Florida community joined in the monthly caravan in Miami on Sunday, January 30, to demand President Joe Biden end the criminal U.S. blockade on Cuba. The group called on the U.S president to end all sanctions on Cuba, restore the family reunification program and recommence freedom of travel between the United States and Cuba for both Americans and Cubans. The event was organized by the U.S. Hands Off Cuba and Venezuela South Florida and Puentes de Amor.

Dozens of cars draped with banners and signs reading “End the criminal blockade of Cuba,” and “No mas bloqueo,” most donning Cuban flags, left from the Miami City Hall and wound their way through the busy streets of Miami. Members of the caravan honked their horns and blasted traditional Cuban music along the way.

The group planned their route so that the caravan would pass slowly by Versailles, the infamous reactionary Cuban restaurant on Calle Ocho that serves as a gathering place for some of the most far-right elements of the Miami Cuban population.

The impassioned members of the caravan, which was composed largely of recent Cuban immigrants and first or second generation Cuban Americans, ended their drive through Miami at Freedom Plaza in Coral Gables, where they disembarked from their vehicles and rallied at the famous historic Jose Marti monument. Once there, they chanted and listened to speeches in English and Spanish. The atmosphere was festive, and the people were unified.

“Welcome to all who have gathered here today, Cuban and not Cuban, people of all different ideologies and faiths. We are a diverse group, but we stand united in our love for Cuba,” said one of the caravan’s main organizers, Carlos Lazo, in Spanish. Lazo is the internationally known leader of the organization Puentes de Amor, which got on the map in the summer of 2021, after Lazo and a handful of others traveled from Miami to Washington, D.C. to call on President Biden to end the criminal sanctions against Cuba.

“We are here for the Cuban family. We are here to build bridges of love between the Cuban and American people,” Lazo told the crowd. “We are here to say down with the blockade and illegal sanctions. And we invite the entire Cuban community to join us in this cause!”

From the group’s loudspeakers, music blared. Cuban salsa music led to much dancing and celebration throughout the afternoon. Though moments of solemnity occurred during speeches and each time the Cuban National Anthem played, leading the group to join in heartfelt song, hands over hearts.

Across the street, a small handful of angry counter-protesters tried to disrupt the caravan and rally. They wore red Donald Trump caps and shouted expletives toward the members of the caravan, which included grandparents and children. But the ten right-wingers were far outnumbered, and their shouts were drowned out by the celebratory music and chants of “Cuba si! El bloqueo no!” by members of the caravan. In the end, the small group of right-wing Cuban American counter-protesters came across as rather pathetic, and they reeked of the desperation and resentment that accompanies most sore losers.

The caravan and rally were a huge success by any barometer, but especially given the unconducive and often dangerous conditions of organizing Cuba solidarity events in Miami. Since the summer of 2021, the caravans have only grown in strength, unity and numbers. Another caravan is planned to take place in Miami for the last week of February.

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