MIAMI – Miami SOS Cuba protesters marched Wednesday night from Versailles in Little Havana to the historic Freedom Tower in downtown Miami.
Miami police officers escorted the group as they walked eastbound on Eighth Street to get to the building that housed the former U.S Cuban Assistance Center from 1962 to 1974.
Officers blocked intersections to allow the group to turn northbound toward Biscayne Boulevard. They passed by Bayfront Park, near to where a group of boaters with U.S. and Cuban flags had met earlier.
It was a five-mile journey. They arrived at the 17-story Spanish Renaissance-style building at 600 Biscayne Blvd. to continue their protest. Some of the Cuban-American children have heard stories about the exodus.
Fidel Castro was imposing communist policies when their ancestors escaped the island with whatever they could carry. The U.S. granted them political asylum and assistance for healthcare and housing.
The area where Miami Heat fans now gather before games became known as the “Ellis Island of the South.” The sudden wave of refugees turned it into the “Refugio” camp. Some slept on the floor, as they waited for their turn to be processed.
More than half a century later, Cubans who protested on the island Sunday say they are tired of the authoritarian communist regime and they want political change. They are dealing with shortages of food and medicine, power outages, internet connectivity issues, and COVID patients dying at home.
Protesters in Miami chanted on their behalf for a “Free Cuba!”
The dry-foot, wet-foot policy that protected Cubans who arrived by boat is gone. Helping refugees is not the priority it once was during the Cold War. Some of the participants of the Miami march said they want President Joe Biden to help Cubans get rid of communism for good.
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For more about the situation in Cuba, visit the Local 10 News’ “en español” page.