Miami Herald (Sunday)
Hundreds from Miami protest at Cuban Embassy, White House, chanting ‘libertad’
Hundreds of protesters from Miami and elsewhere gathered outside the White House and the Cuban Embassy on Saturday in a show of support for Cubans who took to the streets in unprecedented anti-government protests last weekend.
They arrived in the nation’s capital in buses after a 16-hour overnight trip and first went to the Cuban Embassy where they were greeted by cheering protesters and honking car horns.
The protesters later went to the White House where they chanted “Joe Biden do your job” and “Joe Biden, Cuba needs your help.”
“The ask is for Biden to have a more clear and firm position on this dictatorship that is killing and assassinating fellow Cubans and human beings,” Luis Enrique Ferrer García, the event’s head organizer, said outside the White House.
The Washington demonstration came less than a week after widespread anti-government protests in Cuba which led to a crackdown that resulted in hundreds of arrests.
As the crowd’s size swelled outside the Cuban Embassy, police blocked off the street. Many of the protesters were draped in red, white, and blue and chanted “libertad” which means freedom, and “patria y vida” which is a protest slogan meaning homeland and life.
“People are dying in Cuba and we need our voice to be heard,” said
Bianet Alvarez, 35, who said she was born in Cuba and lives in Miami.
“They’re being silenced, their internet is shut down, the power is shut down, and they have no voice so we’re here to have a voice for them.”
“I was reared on this fight for freedom and I felt that the least I could do is to come and show solidarity for the Cuban people,” said Robert Lewis, 23, who said his grandparents fled Cuba in the early 1960s.
“I think that at their root, it’s a protest for freedom,” he said.
The Cuban government is “a repressive and violent government that trades in fear and overarching oppression and I think that the people have grown tired after 60 years of sort of stomaching this, basically this maltreatment in every form you can think of.”
The protesters, which organizers said numbered more than 1,000, walked two miles to the White House where they set up a large sign “SOS Cuba.”
The White House has called the Cuban government’s crackdown on protesters “unacceptable.”