MIAMI (WSVN) - Hundreds of people converged in downtown Miami to take part in a rally calling on the U.S. government to take action to help people in Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela.
7News cameras captured attendees waving flags from Cuba, the U.S. and other countries in a show of solidarity near Bayside Marketplace during the “Llamado por la Libertad” (“Call for Freedom”) rally, Saturday evening.
The overriding message from participants is that America needs to act now.
“We are fighting for freedom, and this is what we are asking: freedom,” said protester Julie Diaz.
Protesters made it clear they don’t want a Band-Aid.
“We don’t want money, vaccines, some food, some medication for Cubans,” said protester Joaquin Casdillo. “We are requesting libertad.”
Miami Mayor Francis Suarez was among those who spoke at the event.
Participants reiterated it’s time for an overhaul of repressive regimes.
Some were hopeful that continual influence from President Joe Biden will tip the scales.
“Do something for Cubans. We need you more than ever,” said protester Mariesella Lopez.
The rally takes place a day after Biden met with Cuban-American leaders at the White House.
Protester Maria Bacas-Cook called on the commander in chief to take more aggressive steps.
“President Biden, please help us, please do something,” she said. “We don’t want the blood on our hands in the United States of America because we didn’t do anything.”
The meeting at the White House took place days after Cuban-Americans from across the country traveled to Washington, D.C., and marched from just outside the White House to the Cuban Embassy.
Protesters in downtown Miami said they’re certain many U.S. residents just don’t know the extent of the Cuban people’s struggle.
“Our brothers and sisters are fighting in the streets of Cuba, going through hunger, being jailed, being killed,” said Bacas-Cook.
“Right now, with the internet not being accessible to the Cubans, we do not see that they are still protesting to this day,” said protester Jasper Benitez
But local organizers of Monday’s march in Washington said they are confident that progress is on the way.
Organizer Alian Collazo from LIBRE Initiative, who led the most recent freedom rally in the nation’s capital, said protests like these are working.
“There was sanctioning of the Cuban Polics — the PNR, Policía Nacional Revolucionaria — so we’re seeing movement in the right direction,” he said.
However, Collazo said, there’s still a long way to go.
The frustration was palpable among protesters who said time is up.
“This is about freedom. This is about a dictatorship that we have in our country for 62 years,” said Diaz.
“The communist regime has to be done away with,” said Bacas-Cook.
Miami Police officers were on hand at the rally to supervise and ensure everyone was safe.
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