MIAMI – A group of activists held a demonstration on Thursday under the shadow of Miami’s Freedom Tower. The historic landmark is where the former U.S. assistance center for Cuban refugees was after Fidel Castro began to implement his Soviet version of Communism in the 1960s.
Rosa Maria Paya is leading the demonstration in solidarity with a group of activists in Havana. The daughter of Oswaldo Paya, who was an engineer and Catholic dissident, believes the Cuban government caused his death in a 2012 car crash after decades of harassment.
For years, Rosa Maria Paya has been demonstrating against the repression of a system that she says needs to come to an end in Cuba. She is the director of Cuba Decide, a pro-democracy movement in support of human rights.
“It’s a call for solidarity and for action,” she said about the demonstration to raise awareness about the plight of Cuban dissidents who are active in the San Isidro Movement in Havana and to mark the United Nations’ celebration of Human Rights Day.
The movement’s members want the government to free Rapper Denis Solis who is in prison for criminal contempt after talking back to a police officer. The movement’s supporters have also been protesting the detention of five of the movement’s members who were holding a hunger strike and nine others who were at the movement’s headquarters in Havana.
Cuban authorities said the intervention at the San Isidro movement’s headquarters in Havana was related to coronavirus safety violations. The movement’s protest on social media has garnered international attention.
Raul Castro’s protege, Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel, has branded the San Isidro Movement, named after a district in Old Havana, as a ploy of “U.S. imperialists” who want to cause unrest.
Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, a Cuban-American, met with Rosa Maria Paya on Thursday to present the city’s declaration that Human Rights Day is also Anti-Communism Day in Miami.
“We stand firmly against the enemy of those freedoms —Communism,” Suarez wrote on Twitter.
Today, we commemorate not only our God-given human rights and the universal call of freedom but we stand firmly against the enemy of those freedoms—Communism. Therefore, it is fitting, that we proclaim Human Rights Day as Anti-Communism Day in the City of Miami. pic.twitter.com/tm8OaVlFul— Mayor Francis Suarez (@FrancisSuarez) December 10, 2020