Car caravans demand: ‘End US embargo against Cuba!’

By Steve Warshell
February 15, 2021
Caravan participants in Miami Jan. 31 protesting U.S. government embargo of Cuba rally at José Martí monument, above. Car caravans occurred in Seattle, Los Angeles and New York as well.
Militant/Chuck GuerraCaravan participants in Miami Jan. 31 protesting U.S. government embargo of Cuba rally at José Martí monument, above. Car caravans occurred in Seattle, Los Angeles and New York as well.

MIAMI — Over 100 cars and more than 25 bicycle riders joined in a spirited caravan protesting the U.S. government’s criminal embargo against Cuba here Jan. 31. Similar actions took place in Los Angeles, New York, Seattle and other cities in response to a call for monthly protests by the National Network on Cuba.

The action here was called together by YouTube personality Jorge Medina, widely known as El Protestón Cubano, and was attended by protesters originally from Cuba as well as the U.S. They held signs calling for the end of the U.S. embargo, open travel between the two countries, remittances to relatives in Cuba without U.S. government interference and normal consular relations between the two countries.

The protest was also attended by Seattle-area schoolteacher Carlos Lazo, who first organized what have now become regular monthly protests.

The caravan stopped at a monument in Coral Gables Park to José Martí, one of Cuba’s revolutionary heroes. Jan. 28 was the 168th anniversary of his birth.

A brief rally was held after the event where plans for building next month’s caravan were announced.

LOS ANGELES — Some 60 participants took part in a car caravan here Jan. 31 demanding an end to the U.S. embargo of Cuba. The caravan assembled in MacArthur Park with a short rally and wove through mostly working-class areas to the Boyle Heights neighborhood, with another rally to wrap up.

Telemundo, Univision, and the local ABC affiliate sent reporting team to the event, with coverage carried on all three stations.

The action, organized by the Los Angeles U.S. Hands Off Cuba Committee, demanded an end to Washington’s economic war against Cuba, U.S. out of Guantánamo and for U.S. cooperation with the Cuban government in fighting COVID-19. New for this area was the participation of several people born in Cuba.

Pacey Bynum, a FedEx driver, told the Militant why she decided to join the protest caravan. “For a while I knew the topical history of what the U.S. was doing in Cuba. I became aware the U.S. was punishing Cuba for having a different style of government. Cuba has been punished for decades,” she said. “They’ve sent doctors to help a lot of countries.”

Maureen Cruise is a retired registered nurse and Service Employees International Union member who volunteers for California Nurses Association/National Nurses United. She said, “We really need to invite Cuban medical personnel to the U.S. The U.S. has an insurance system, not a health care system. A wealth care system.”

Speakers at the send-off rally included Mark Friedman, coordinator of the Los Angeles U.S. Hands Off Cuba Committee; University of California student Johanna Cervantes; John Parker from the Socialist Unity Party; Dexter Martin from the All-African People’s Revolutionary Party; and Norton Sandler for the Socialist Workers Party.

When the caravan reached Boyle Heights, participants got out of their cars at a busy intersection and distributed informational leaflets. They detailed the severe restrictions the U.S. government has imposed on the Cuban people over the past few years, tightening its criminal economic war against the revolutionary workers and farmers government there. A second flyer highlighted how the Cuban government has handled the COVID-19 pandemic. It explained how Cuba, with a population similar to Los Angeles County, has recorded under 220 deaths while more than 16,500 have died here.