Luis Felipe Rojas, Miami, 8 November 2015 — This past Sunday, I went to the mythical and cloyingly Cuban Versailles Restaurant. There were a handful of Cubans there who believe that solidarity doesn’t have borders, and can’t be imposed from any corner.
On this day, November 8th, I went to join Bárbara Travieso, Jorge Ross, and others who firmly believe in supporting those who are suffering. While in La Habana, tens of Ladies in White and human rights activists were being arrested, in the heart of Cuban food in Miami, about ten Cubans stood on the sidewalk, telling everyone how much could be done for those who are still behind bars.
Travieso calls out. “The objective is to be in solidarity with the Ladies in White and the oppnents who are in Cuba demanding human rights for Cuba. It’s a way of reminding those who are watching us that in Cuba, people are being suppressed for marching peacefully for their rights.”
Bárbara Travieso, a human rights activist who has been out of Cuba for 27 years, says that her hope is that those who go out to march in Cuba know that “they are not alone, we are watching everything that happens and we support them.” It was the time at which, in the Havana church of Santa Rita, the Ladies in White were being beaten.
Jorge Ross, who has supported various causes promoting democracy in Cuba, states that the important part is that people know that there are Cubans “who want a different life”, and immediately assures that “we should support the people who are marching in Cuba and who are suffering harassment, bullying, blows, and jail from the Cuban regime”.
I asked some French people, secluded over a dozen fish fritters, and they said that while looking for information about Miami, they found out that “there are protests on the corner of Versailles Restaurant”, and that until now, they had thought that there wasn’t anyone imprisoned in Cuba because of their opinions; they thanked me for a pair of books that I gave them.
Southwest 8th Street at 11am is like a calm ocean. Cars pass every ten minutes. But despite this, we still heard on several occasions people yelling “Viva Fidel!” without stopping to ask about the activists’ motivations.
Finally, I met up with Karel Becerra, “infoactivist”, “cyberdissident”, and defender of the cause of those who want to have rights. Becerra has worked closely with the Independent and Democratic Cuba Party, lived in Argentina for 15 years, and is now in Miami.
We were 10 decent Cubans under the Miami sun, at that time when the summer is ending. Horns were blowing, and many people lowered their car windows and yelled “Freedom for the political prisoners! Long live free Cuba! Down with the dictatorship!”
It’s Versailles Restaurant. It’s Miami.