WEST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) - Protesters held a rally at Tamiami Park in Southwest Miami-Dade and outside of U.S. Southern Command in Doral in support of those in Cuba fighting for their freedom.
Miami-Dade Police and other authorities arrived outside of Southern Command, the center of U.S. military operations in South America and the Caribbean, Tuesday night to put an end to the demonstration.
Over a loudspeaker, they said in Spanish to the protesters that their permit to assemble had expired, and they needed to clear the street in front of Southern Command. If they resisted, an officer told them they would be arrested.
The hundreds of protesters that had gathered then left peacefully, and there were no incidents between police and the demonstrators, officials said.
“What Cuba needs is intervention,” protester Cecilia Niebla, a Cuban American, said. “It’s not food. It’s not medicine. That comes with freedom. People of America, you need to understand! My people have no weapons. They are killing our people who have no weapons!”
The rally at Tamiami Park was originally held to mark the 27th anniversary of the 13th of March Tugboat Massacre, when dozens of Cubans trying to leave the island were rammed and drowned. However, the anniversary of the deadly massacre also happens to coincide with protests happening in Havana and other parts of Cuba.
An organizer for the rally said what they fear is a massacre similar to the Tugboat Massacre, only something much more drastic.
Despite the constant rain, Cuban Americans brought their personal stories to the Cuban Memorial at Tamiami Park on Tuesday.
“My father was a political prisoner in Cuba,” said one protester.
“On the sixth of March, they executed his father,” said another protester translating in English for his friend.
Forty-one Cubans, including 19 children, drowned trying to escape the island during the Tugboat Massacre of 1994. The government was accused of using tugboats to ram their boat and force it to sink.
“We have suffered one massacre after another at the hands of this vicious regime that doesn’t represent the Cuban people,” said Dr. Orlando Gutierrez Boronat. “We’re trying to prevent another massacre.”
Now, with the recent unprecedented protests happening on the streets of Havana, South Florida Cuban Americans are hoping their voices will be loud enough to call for action to help the people of Cuba.
“We are for the freedom of the Cuban people!” said a protester. When asked if he wants to see American soldiers or humanitarians in Cuba, he replied, “No, soldiers! We need a blockade!”
“Those people there, they need help,” said another protester.
“It’s about time that we hit the streets in Cuba and everywhere in the world,” said another protester.
Rally attendants want to see military intervention on the part of the United States to try and help the people in Cuba who are now protesting who, apparently because of the breakdown in the blocking of the internet on the island nation, have no idea what is going on in South Florida.
One of the organizers said there is quite a network between family members, so perhaps they do know the support they are getting around the world and especially in South Florida.
One person said, “If Cuba isn’t free now, isn’t made free now, then when will it ever be?”
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