MIAMI — Scores of people joined a car caravan led by the Alianza Martiana in the Little Havana neighborhood here Feb. 8 to protest new U.S. government restrictions on travel to Cuba.
Washington passed new regulations in January barring all charter flights to Cuban cities other than Havana, and curtailed flights to Cuba’s capital. The government last fall barred all commercial flights from the U.S. to nine cities outside of Havana.
The caravan also denounced vandalism at the Alianza’s headquarters during the night of Jan. 26 after it had sponsored a public meeting to celebrate the anniversary of the birth of Cuban independence leader José Martí. The group defends revolutionary Cuba, calls for the U.S. government to normalize relations and demands an end to the U.S. economic war against Cuba’s revolution.
The attack on the group’s headquarters comes as the U.S. rulers have stepped up their slander campaign and other efforts to make the Cuban people pay for support of their revolution. The new travel restrictions, which make it harder for Cuban Americans to visit relatives still in Cuba, are part of these attacks.
Fifty cars kicked off the caravan festooned with Cuban flags and signs featuring the demands of the protest. They traveled over 15 miles on SW 8th Street — known here as Calle Ocho — with horns honking. The protest attracted more participants as it snaked its way in disciplined formation through the neighborhood, doubling in size.
While Little Havana had been considered the turf of Cuban counterrevolutionaries in Miami in the past, today it is overwhelmingly Cuban American workers who face the same kind of carnage as all other U.S. workers from the crisis of capitalism.
When protest organizers arrived and began lining up the first groups of cars, a handful of rightists tried to disrupt the caravan. The Alianza’s marshals refused to be provoked and, when the police showed up, the rightists fled.
Participants in the caravan included all ages, from youth to Juan Hidalgo, a veteran Alianza member who recounts how he fought alongside Fidel Castro in the Sierra Maestra mountains during the Cuban Revolution when he was 16 years old.
In a press release issued after the protest, Gómez thanked all those who helped make the caravan a step forward for the freedom to publicly oppose the U.S. government restrictions on travel to Cuba. Eleven different groups had come together to build the action, including the Antonio Maceo Brigade, the Bolivarian Circle of Miami, Cuban American Defense League and the Socialist Workers Party.
Anthony Dutrow is the Socialist Workers Party candidate for U.S. Congress in the 27th District in Florida.