MIAMI (WSVN) - Hundreds of South Floridians came together in West Miami-Dade and downtown Miami in a show of solidarity toward the people of Cuba as part of a continued fight for freedom, one day before a planned peaceful protest on the island nation.
Sunday morning’s gathering started at the Cuban Memorial, a monument dedicated to the victims of communism in Cuba, in Tamiami Park.
“Libertad, libertad, libertad!” a speaker chanted as she addressed demonstrators.
“This is an incredible day,” said Sylvia Iriondo, the president of Mothers and Women Against Repression. “This is a day where we are seeing hundreds and hundreds of members of our exiled community and other communities standing up for the freedom of the people of Cuba.”
Protesters then headed toward the Freedom Tower in downtown Miami.
The Assembly of the Cuban Resistance organized and led a large caravan of cars.
7News cameras captured dozens of cars and SUVs, as drivers honked their horns and passengers waved Cuban and U.S. flags.
“The people in Cuba now live a hell,” said protester Maria Teresa Rafaelly. “It’s a hell; it’s not life there.”
“Cubans are fighting for freedom on the island and here in Miami against those criminals that have leading Cuba, the communist Castro family,” said another demonstrator.
According to organizers, more than 1,200 vehicles have set off in the caravan.
Protesters demanded an end to the suffering that their loved ones have endured for decades.
“My people are dying there. My people don’t have food, my people don’t have the most principal things that you need for life,” said Rafaelly.
“My grandma had COVID two weeks ago, right? They gave her 10 aspirins and sent her home,” said protester Marcelo Camacho. “She’s 70, by herself.”
“We are in need of medicine and food … but the most important thing is the people are not allowed to express themselves,” said another protester.
Cameras also showed protesters taking to the water near the FTX Arena. The flotilla formed Sunday afternoon.
“We’ve awakened. The Cuban people have awakened,” said a protester through a translator.
“We want freedom, freedom of expression. We want economic freedom,” said activist Kiele Cabrera.
Demonstrators said they hope their support in South Florida sends a strong message of hope to those in Cuba.
“We don’t want anymore the genocide that is [taking place] in Cuba. We don’t want anymore the dictator that’s in there,” said Rafaelly, “so we are here saying to them, ‘Be strong, continue. We are here supporting you, and we can get the freedom that we want for Cuba.'”
Activists have also been asked to protest at their homes by banging pots and pans to support the civic march in Cuba set for Monday.
Some of the protesters who spoke with 7News said they plan to return to downtown Miami on Monday.
“It will continue until we see a definitive change from the regime in Cuba,” said Cabrera. “We need them absolutely gone.”
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