The anti-government protests in Cuba have made their way into South Florida.
On Tuesday afternoon, dozens of demonstrators shut down a portion of a Miami-Dade highway to show solidarity with the unprecedented protests that took place in Cuba over the weekend. According to the Miami Herald, the Florida rally began with a march on Coral Way and SW 82nd Avenue, before coming to a halt on State Road 826/Palmetto Expressway. Authorities say the demonstration blocked traffic in both directions from around 1:35 to 2:35 p.m. local time.
“The safety of our community & safeguarding those that peacefully assemble is our top priority,” the Miami-Dade Police Department tweeted Tuesday. “We welcome those that wish to peacefully demonstrate; however, the obstruction of roadways is unacceptable & illegal. Officers are enforcing traffic laws to ensure the flow of traffic.”
#SOSCuba NO ESTÁN SOLOS @POTUS @SecPompeo #CUBA PALMETTO EXPRESS WAY SHUT DOWN IN BOTH DIRECTIONS BY CORAL WAY.. #FreeCuba #intervencionMilitarCubaYa CON LOS CUBANOS NO SE JUEGA pic.twitter.com/uiO27jjkEG— Viva Cuba Libre (@TonyMora1988) July 13, 2021
Footage of the Miami-Dade demonstration showed a large crowd on the expressway waving the Cuban flag and chanting messages of solidarity with the island nation. Over the past several days, Cubans have flooded city streets protesting against food shortages, rising prices, and a lack of medical care—all of which have been exacerbated by stiffer U.S. sanctions imposed by the Trump administration.
President Joe Biden responded to the Cuban protests in a statement released by the White House on Monday.
“We stand with the Cuban people and their clarion call for freedom and relief from the tragic grip of the pandemic and from the decades of repression and economic suffering to which they have been subjected by Cuba’s authoritarian regime,” POTUS said. “The Cuban people are bravely asserting fundamental and universal rights. Those rights, including the right of peaceful protest and the right to freely determine their own future, must be respected. The United States calls on the Cuban regime to hear their people and serve their needs at this vital moment rather than enriching themselves.”
Biden declined to say whether he’ll consider lifting the sanctions, which date back to the 1960s.