SOS Cuba protesters march in Hialeah ‘for Cuba to be free, just like we are’

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


The historic SOS Cuba protests in cities on the communist island on July 11 prompted a series of demonstrations in Miami-Dade County. (Historic Protests SOS Cuba)

Coverage on July 14

SOS Cuba protesters march from Versailles to Freedom Tower Wednesday night in Miami.

Coverage on July 13

SKY 10 shows #SOSCuba protesters takeover Palmetto for hours on Tuesday in Miami-Dade County.

Coverage on July 12

Cuban exiles rally at Versailles Restaurant in Miami's Little Havana neighborhood in support of protesters in Cuba, Monday, July 12, 2021, in Miami. (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Coverage on July 11

People protest in front of the Capitol in Havana, Cuba, Sunday, July 11, 2021. Hundreds of demonstrators went out to the streets in several cities in Cuba to protest against ongoing food shortages and high prices of foodstuffs, amid the new coronavirus crisis. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

For more about the situation in Cuba, visit the Local 10 News’ “en español” page.

About the Authors:

Roy Ramos joined the Local 10 News team in 2018. Roy is a South Florida native who grew up in Florida City. He attended Christopher Columbus High School, Homestead Senior High School and graduated from St. Thomas University.

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.