HIALEAH, Fla. – SOS Cuba protesters continued their demonstration Thursday night east of the Palmetto Expressway in Miami-Dade County’s city of Hialeah. Ysabel Peraza, a Cuban American, said she was participating because she has a dream: “For Cuba to be free, just like we are!”
Hialeah Mayor Carlos Hernández was born in Cuba’s city of Camagüey, and was raised in Hialeah. He joined a peaceful march on Thursday afternoon. The goal was to keep hundreds of people safe and away from the Palmetto Expressway. It was also important to him that people voice their grievances.
“Our heart is breaking,” the mayor said about the many videos that show Cubans’ suffering on the communist island.
Miami-Dade’s SOS Cuba protesters have been demonstrating in support of U.S. intervention against communism during the late afternoons and evenings after Cubans’ uprising Sunday. Some protests in downtown Miami, Little Havana and Westchester continued through the night.
In the way Black Lives Matter protesters demonstrated on Interstate 95, SOS Cuba protesters had been illegally blocking traffic on different parts of the Palmetto Expressway since Tuesday. On Wednesday night, a group blocked the southbound lanes at West 49th Street. On Tuesday afternoon, a group blocked lanes in both directions at Coral Way, near Westchester.
The Florida Highway Patrol released a statement Thursday warning that state troopers are working with local law enforcement agencies to keep state roadways safe. In Hialeah, FHP troopers were at West 49th Street and West 18th Avenue to keep protesters away from the Palmetto. A few attempted to do so, but were unable to.
SKY 10: Raw aerial video of afternoon march (No audio: 27 min.)
Hialeah Police Department officers routed traffic away from a section of West 49th Street for the SOS Cuba protest. The crowd’s first meeting point was at the southeastern corner of West 49th Street and 12th Avenue. They started to arrive about 2 p.m.
Drivers honked their horns as they passed by a few dozen protesters who were standing on the sidewalk. By 5:30 p.m., there were hundreds. They marched westbound on West 49th Street. Officers and troopers redirected the marchers to turn northbound at West 16th Avenue.
“We wanted to make sure that it was done in a proper, safe manner,” Hernández said. “This happened through the internet and we are going to make sure that it is done correctly.”
The marchers turned westbound at Westland Mall where they zig-zagged through the parking lot to return to the westbound lanes of West 49th Street. Officers persuaded them to march away from the Palmetto. When the march was over, the protest continued well into the night.
6 p.m. report
5 p.m. report
4 p.m. report
Coverage on July 14
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For more about the situation in Cuba, visit the Local 10 News’ “en español” page.