Echoing the pro-democracy protests in Cuba, which are now in their fourth day, exiled Cubans and allies of the pro-democracy movement in the island nation took to the streets in Florida to demand President Joe Biden speak out in support of the demonstrations challenging Cuba’s despotic Communist regime.
The protests, which proved a challenge to the state’s laws banning demonstrations that block traffic or otherwise cause a danger to residents, resulted in several arrests and shut down “a section of a major Miami-Dade highway for hours,” according to local media.
“Dozens of South Floridians waved Cuban flags as they gathered at the intersection and chanted “Libertad” and other messages. The group eventually made their way to the Palmetto Expressway, which had to be closed down near Coral Way as demonstrators sat down and began blocking traffic,” an NBC affiliate in South Florida noted. “Footage showed Florida Highway Patrol troopers and Miami-Dade Police officers directing traffic off the highway as a massive backup of cars could be seen.”
The demonstrations were designed to draw the White House’s attention to what is happening in Cuba. So far, the Biden administration has issued several statements on the matter but has not taken any overt effort to assist in the fight for democracy.
“We need Biden’s support,” one protestor told Fox News. “We haven’t gotten support from the president. So, we are trying to fight, to finish with the communism.”
“Biden, you should listen to the people here, the elected officials that are Cubans and know what is best for the people in Cuba,” another protester told media, per Fox. “So just hear us out and try to come together to see what we can do.”
Biden’s statement, issued Monday, called on the Cuban government to provide food and medicine for the Cuban people and offered lukewarm support for the protests, without directly labeling the government as “Communist.”
“We stand with the Cuban people and their clarion call for freedom and relief from the tragic grip of the pandemic and from the decades of repression and economic suffering to which they have been subjected by Cuba’s authoritarian regime,” Biden said.
The Palm Beach Post covered demonstrations in Miami and West Palm Beach, where there is a significant exile Cuban population, which turned out for protests earlier this week and a meeting with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis Tuesday night. Cubans in Miami, the Post reports, are concerned about potential crackdowns from the Cuban government but are optimistic that the protests, which are the largest in decades, signify change.
“Right now, we cannot go there and do anything. What we can do is what I am doing,” one Cuban exile told the paper. We’re taking to the streets here, putting the Cuban flag out there, sharing, and making sure our voices are heard.”
“It’s a pressure cooker and it exploded because it has to explode,” another said. “It’s a scary time. We don’t know how it’s going to end. But don’t forget, they started the revolution just like that.”
Author : Emily Zanotti