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Supporters show up on Calle Ocho in solidarity against Cuban government

Group turns out at Versailles in show of support for Cuban dissidents in Havana
Group turns out at Versailles in show of support for Cuban dissidents in Havana

MIAMI, Fla. – Local supporters gathered at Versailles restaurant to echo a message against the Cuban government in a show of solidarity for a group of dissidents in Havana.

On Saturday night, there was an energy from the Cuban exile on Calle Ocho in Little Havana for what some are calling unprecedented events and a possible turning point in Cuban history.

In Cuba’s Havana on Friday night, the island’s youth sang the national anthem outside of the Ministry of Culture, where protests have been taking place. The demonstrations are being described as grassroots gatherings, mainly made up of Cuban artists and intellectuals who are coming together to demand rights.  Among their demands are freedom of expression and freedom to dissent.

“Lo que ha occurido es histórico en este país.”

“What has happened is historical in this country,” said Yunior Garcia, a playwright from Havana.

The peaceful protest grew out of frustration over the intervention by Cuban authorities into the headquarters of the San Isidro Movement Thursday night in Old Havana.

Several of its members had been on a hunger strike following the arrest and sentencing of Cuban rapper Denis Solís, a San Isidro member who was sentenced to eight months in jail after confronting a police officer he said had illegally entered his home.

Those who watch Cuba closely said the events Friday night in Havana have never happened in country’s revolutionary history and this could be a turning point.

Back at Versailles, supporters had strong words and spoke as to why they had taken to the streets themselves.

“It’s an opportunity for the world to see that the Castro regime is killing these people and we are here supporting them.”

In a press conference from Havana, organizers of the San Isidro Movement told Local 10 that their biggest accomplishment is that they are going to sit at the table with Cuban government officials. That is expected to take place next week.

The Cuban government alleges this is American interference and they have planned a counter protest for Sunday.

About the Author:

In January 2017, Hatzel Vela became the first local television journalist in the country to move to Cuba and cover the island from the inside. During his time living and working in Cuba, he covered some of the most significant stories in a post-Fidel Castro Cuba.