In Miami, Cuban exiles call for ‘massive rally’ to mark Fidel Castro’s death
Miami’s Cuban-American community tapped enduring symbols of its decades-old exile Sunday to demand a democratic future for communist Cuba now that Fidel Castro is dead — beginning with a cathartic rally planned for Wednesday at the Bay of Pigs Memorial in Little Havana for “all who have been affected by this regime.”
And not far from the museum honoring Bay of Pigs veterans, where about 100 people had gathered to call for the midweek rally, crowds formed for a second day in front of the Versailles Restaurant on Calle Ocho, where they filled the sidewalks waving American and Cuban flags as passing cars honked their horns.
Some carried photos of loved ones whom they said had been jailed and persecuted by Castro, but had not lived to learn of his death late Friday at age 90. Others banged pots and pans, and chanted rhythmic slogans in Spanish, demanding democratic reforms.
“Cuba libre ya!” Free Cuba now!
Nearly all had stories of how Castro had changed their lives, forever.
At the museum honoring the 2506 Assault Brigade, symbols abounded of the struggle — by exiles in Miami and dissidents on the island — against Castro’s rule.
Gathered in a room with walls covered by portraits of men who died in the failed 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion, brigade veterans joined with members of Damas de Blanco or Ladies in White, a government opposition movement in Cuba formed by the wives of jailed dissidents.
Throughout a half-hour press conference, they exhorted President-elect Donald Trump and Miami’s Cuban-American community to push hard for freedom in Cuba.
“The tyrant has died, but tyranny remains,” said Humberto Arguelles, president of the Bay of Pigs Veterans Association. He announced a rally “for liberty and democracy in Cuba” on Wednesday, set to begin at the Bay of Pigs Memorial on Southwest Eighth Street and 13th Avenue at 5 p.m.