Local protesters blast, praise Trump’s revised US-Cuba policy

MIAMI (WSVN) - Protesters flocked to Little Havana to speak out about the changes to the U.S.-Cuba policy that President Donald Trump announced, Friday afternoon.

Opponents of the changes lined up outside the the Manuel Artime Theater, behind gates along the roadway, as the commander in chief addressed a packed house, just after 1 p.m.

Supporters of the president were also on hand across the street to praise his announcement. They were seen on the opposite side of the road with signs that read, “Mr. President: Help Cuba’s people to live in liberty.”

Although the protesters on both sides of the issue were peaceful, they were not always pleasant. 7News cameras captured an anti-Trump protester in a Guy Fawkes mask lashing out at Trump supporters.

“Take your mask off. Take your mask off, Anonymous,” said one Trump supporter as he recorded the protests on his cellphone.

The verbal exchanges between pro- and anti-Trump demonstrators were not violent, but they were vitriolic. “It does seem to be very divided, and I think it’s representative of the state of our country right now,” said one protester.

Supporters from the Cuban exile community cheered as “Hail to the Chief” played on loudspeakers, followed by the president’s remarks.

On the other side of the street, it was another story. One woman holding a sign that read “100 Days of Chaos” yelled “liar” over and over into a bullhorn, as other opponents let sirens wail.

Once Trump announced the Obama administration’s agreement with Cuba would be “canceled,” both sides weighed in with passion.

Opponents said the policy revision erases the progress former President Barack Obama made in relations between the two countries. “The progress that was made at the end of the Obama administration, he’s trying to reverse, and we’re all here against that in unity,” said an anti-Trump protester.

Another critic of the changes said, “They’re a regression to the past, to the policies of the embargo and economic restrictions that ultimately hurt the average Cuban.”

But a woman who supports the president’s announcement dismissed this sentiment and those who espouse it. “Those people are the common people that are in opposition,” she said. “They’re radicals. They’re socialists, radicals, lefties.”

One woman added that those against Trump should accept that he’s president. “I like everything he’s doing,” she said. “But we would like further changes. We would like strict changes. We don’t want any of our money to go to that island because we know that it ends up in Castro’s hands.”

Another Trump supporter suggested a simple suggestion for Cubans who oppose the change in policy. “Go back to Cuba, you know?” he said. “Go back to Cuba, and not the United States.”

There was heavy police presence outside throughout the event, but no one was arrested.

 

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