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SOS Cuba protesters from Homestead to Washington ask Biden for US intervention

MIAMI, Fla. – Deep south in Miami-Dade County, among a small group of SOS Cuba protesters, a boy held up a sign Friday night in Homestead to ask U.S. President Joe Biden for military intervention in Cuba. He made it out of cardboard and paint so he could hold it up and show it to drivers Friday night.

During a news conference Thursday, Biden said Cuba is a “failed state” because communism is “a universally failed system.” His administration is considering whether the U.S. has the technological ability to support internet access in Cuba.

Raw video from Homestead

Another boy from Miami-Dade stood in front of the White House in Washington, D.C., Friday afternoon, and he said in English that as an American of Cuban descent he was ready to fight for freedom in Cuba. Argelio “Lleyo” Saez, of Hialeah, said he brought an SOS Cuba sign with him that was large enough for Biden to see.

“We need to be as free as the United States is,” Saez, 33, said. “That’s what the Cuban people want.”

Report from Washington

In Miami’s Little Havana, SOS Cuba protesters joined tourists and the area’s regulars of the weekly gallery night known as “Viernes Culturales,” Spanish for “Cultural Fridays.” Maria Salas marched with dozens on Eighth Street from Versailles at Southwest 36th Avenue to the Domino Park at Southwest 15th Avenue.

“It is very easy to stand and say we are with you, we want to help you, but if there is no action that takes place by our government, by other governments, the UN — nothing is going to happen,” Salas said.

A few dozen SOS Cuba protesters marched Friday evening on Eighth Street in Miami's Little Havana. (SKY 10)

In Miami Springs, dozens met at the Miami Regional University campus on South Royal Ponciana Boulevard. They wore white red and blue “Patria Y Vida” T-shirts.

It’s Spanish for “Homeland and Life” and the name of a song that has become the anthem of the SOS Cuba protests in South Florida and the island.

Cuban artists wrote it to antagonize communist propaganda that is more than half a century old. It was inspired by the late Fidel Castro’s rallying cry of “Socialism or Death” and the slain “Che” Guevara’s “Homeland or Death” 1964 speech in the United Nations.

The phrase took a different meaning for Cubans as the communist regime was unable to provide what was needed to save lives during the coronavirus pandemic.

Cuban Americans say relatives on the island are dealing with shortages of food and medicine and COVID patients are dying at home without access to care. After the uprising Sunday, Cubans used videos as evidence of the violent crackdown that followed.

COMPLETE COVERAGE

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 15

SOS Cuba protesters march on West 49th Street towards the Palmetto Expressway Thursday in Hialeah. (SKY 10)

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.

Ben Kennedy is an Emmy Award-winning Washington Bureau Chief for Local 10 News. He has more than a decade of reporting experience nationwide.