By Alvaro Blanco
Miami, US, Jul 12 (EFE).- As they did in 2016 to celebrate the death of Fidel Castro, thousands of jubilant Cubans took to the streets in Miami, this time in support of the popular protests that broke out across Cuba, which they see as an opportunity for the change they have longed for for more than 60 years.
Sunday’s rare protests, the largest in Cuba since August 1994, came as the country battles a serious economic and health crisis, with the pandemic out of control and a severe shortage of food, medicine and other essentials, in addition to long power outages.
“It’s over,” the main phrase of the chorus of “Patria y Vida” (Homeland and Life), the anthem of those who want change in Cuba, was sung by the crowd that overran Calle Ocho in Miami’s Little Havana, promising to remain on the street for as long as the protests last on the island.
“You are not alone” was the other slogan of the night.
As in November 2016, the scene of the rally was Versailles restaurant, a symbol like few others of the Cuban community and exiles in Miami, which was once again filled with people with a desire for freedom and to see a regime fall.
With Castro gone and his brother Raúl Castro removed from the front line of national politics, the Miami Cubans attacked President Miguel Díaz Canel, who on Sunday ordered the island’s revolutionaries to fight those who protested in the streets.
Insults against Díaz Canel also resounded outside Versailles, accompanied by a wave of Cuban flags and posters demanding the end of the dictatorship.
Hermín Soler, 82, who was imprisoned for political reasons on the island for 10 years, told Efe that Cubans have finally come out of the “dream of the revolution.”
Soler asked the people of Miami to encourage those in Cuba to rise up against the island’s communist government and to show them that they are not alone in this struggle that he developed in the jungle and in the mountains.
Many protesters carried signs calling on the international community to respond to the request of the SOS Cuba campaign and another directly appealed to the US Southern Command, responsible for cooperation and security operations in Latin America and the Caribbean, to “help the people” of the island.
Rosa María Payá, daughter of the late opposition member Osvaldo Payá, urged the international community to “draw attention to the dictatorship” for the repression of the protests and recalled a phrase from her father: “The night will not be eternal.”
The same appeal was made by a big banner at the rally, along with the slogan of these protests: “Homeland and Life,” as opposed to the Castro slogan of “Homeland or death.”
María Granela, 85, did not want to miss the show of support for the island that she had to leave in 1970 and to which, she told Efe, she hopes to return to after 50 years if the regime falls, confident that this time it “will be the definite one.” EFE