SOUTHWEST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) - As the massive movement calling for an end to the decades-long regime in Cuba entered its second week, hundreds of people gathered at various events held across South Florida.
Demonstrators of all ages packed Tropical Park in Southwest Miami-Dade, Sunday afternoon.
7News cameras captured protesters as they chanted “Libertad” over and over. Others waved Cuban and U.S. flags and held up “#SOSCuba” signs.
Eight-year-old Sara was one of several children who took part in the demonstration.
“It was like, like shouting for freedom for Cuba,” she said.
Sara and her brother David used red and blue magic markers to make their own posters.
“I’m drawing the Cuban flag,” she said.
The children put their art skills to work.
“I just basically taught myself,” said Sara.
But her passion for freedom in the island nation is something she learned from her mother, Patty Alvarez.
“I’ve been fighting for Cuba for a long time,” said Alvarez.
Alvarez said it was important to bring her children to the large gathering so they could understand where they come from and why so many people continue fighting.
“We talk about freedom, we talk about maintaining your liberties and the importance of being free,” she said.
While it sounds like an adult conversation, when you take a step back, Alvarez said, it’s actually very elementary.
“It’s kind of a simple concept when you talk to kids. It’s not that difficult,” she said.
That’s why organizers envisioned the event as being open to all ages, to give children an opportunity to join the movement and learn what is happening just 90 miles off the shores of Florida.
“We wanted to create a safe environment for families to come and bring their children,” said organizer Nicole Salgado.
Whether it was through chants or prayer, adults and children alike said they hope their message reaches the people of Cuba.
“They just want Cuba to be free,” said Sara.
Just after 10 p.m., cameras showed demonstrators kneeling in silence outside Versailles Restaurant in Miami’s Little Havana neighborhood. They also chanted in Spanish, “Down with the dictatorship.”
That gathering was preceded hours earlier by a march down Calle Ocho led by teens ages 15 to 18. It was organized by the group Students for Free Cuba.
Student protester Gabriella Gutierrez addressed the ongoing turmoil in Cuba.
“We’re not taken down by this. If anything, we’re more empowered to move forward,” she said.
Protesters, many seen wearing white shirts, marched in silence down the iconic street for a mile and a half.
“It’s not a sad silence. It’s a strong silence,” said Gutierrez.
Marchers carried Cuban flags and signs as they demanded democracy for Cuba without saying a word.
“In a lot of protests, silence says the most,” said Gutierrez.
“The silence is to show that we’re mourning for those that have been lost, those that were kidnapped, those that went missing in Cuba at the hands of the regime, those who died at sea,” said student protester Enzo Robira.
Students for Free Cuba is made up of young Cuban Americans who are heartbroken by what’s happening in the island nation.
“This is my community. This is my people back at home that are having their blood spilled through the streets,” said Robira. “These are my family members, my cousins, and I have very strong feelings about this.”
Back at the protest outside Versailles, protester Joanna Hernandez broke down in tears while describing the challenges that her loved ones face back home.
“All my family is in Cuba — I’m the only one here — and they don’t even have food or medicine or anything,” she said. “It’s very sad, and we do need help, and they’re not doing anything to help us.”
“We need the help, Biden. Please help us, Biden,” said demonstrator George Pita.
Many from other countries like Venezuela also took part in the demonstrations.
“Now we are fighting together,” said demonstrator Paul Yelamo.
Copyright 2021 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.