Cuban exiles protest in Little Havana as new embassy's flag raised in D.C.

Demonstrators on both sides clash in street over political views


MIAMI – A demonstration outside Versailles Restaurant in Miami's Little Havana neighborhood turned heated Monday morning as people showed their support and outrage over the opening of Cuba's new embassy in Washington.

The opening of the Cuban embassy is the culmination of President Barack Obama's efforts to restore diplomatic relations with the Communist country.

Cuban exiles stood on a sidewalk holding signs that read, "No Cuban embassy in USA," "Revoke Obama policies," "Another day of infamy. In bed with criminals, Anti-Americans" and "Open embassy of Cuba in Washington D.C. -- More spies and terrorists -- Obama coward."

A shouting match spilled into the street as one man shouted, "God bless my father Fidel," an obvious reference to former Cuban leader Fidel Castro.

Pro-Castro demonstrator Denny Mata hurled insults at the exile community, shouting his allegiance to Castro and the decades-old revolution.

"Welcome to my country, American people," Mata told Local 10 News. "Go to my country (and) see what kind of people we have. We don't have terrorists. We don't have muggers. We have good people -- revolutionary people."

Eventually, both sides continued to protest or support the recent diplomatic ties with Cuba passionately but peacefully.

Some told Local 10 News reporter Liane Morejon that they still don't know what to make of the recent changes, but they are hopeful that the outcome will be positive.

"It's always good to see that two enemies become friends," Ramon Saul Sanchez, leader of the Democracy Movement in Miami, told Local 10 News. "The Cuban government has opened to the United States, but unfortunately the Cuban government has not opened to its own people."

Follow Liane Morejon on Twitter @LianeMorejonTV

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