On October 30-31, 2021, car caravans and other actions demanding an end to the U.S. embargo against Cuba took place in cities and towns across the United States, as well as other countries. Below are reports from five of these actions in the U.S., written by organizers and participants.
By Pete Seidman
On October 31, the 16th monthly Miami caravan against the U.S. Blockade of Cuba was a big success! One hundred people in 70 vehicles made our way from a spirited rally at Miami City Hall going through various neighborhoods to end up at the statue of Haitian hero Toussaint Louverture in Little Haiti. The caravan was larger than the previous month, when about 60 people in 40 cars held high the banner of opposition to the blockade.
We made a big advance in establishing our democratic right to speak out in Miami, where only a few weeks ago city authorities fired the police chief for complaining that a “Cuban Mafia” runs the city. A city where the mayor has called for “humanitarian military intervention” against Cuba such as the U.S. government carried out in Panama and NATO carried out in Yugoslavia.
We not only secured a permit for our rally, but we were also able to get the police to cooperate in separating our event from a group of some 30 aggressive counter-demonstrators attempting to disrupt our event. We noted that a few members of the Proud Boys now joined these rightists. At least one was carrying a holstered military-style canister of some kind of chemical spray. The police put up yellow tape to keep these thugs at a distance. The police arrested one and carried hime away in handcuffs.
There is no doubt that our ability to maintain order had a positive impact on caravan morale. Caravan leader Carlos Lazo flew down from Seattle to join us. He reported that several people approached him to shake hands, saying this was their first caravan but would not be their last.
Lazo spoke at the start-up rally at City Hall. A broad array of personalities also spoke, including two prominent YouTubers, one of whom drove with his family all the way from Tennessee to join us. Another had organized a special broadcast the previous night to build the caravan.
The car caravan made its way through several important neighborhoods of the city, including along a stretch of Calle Ocho (8th Street), the traditional Cuban neighborhood. Many of us noted that there were quite a few thumbs up and smiles as we went along, even if some of them were a little cautious! As we passed one building in a Central American area, people came out on their balconies to echo our chants and beat our rhythm on the railings. In the youthful, touristy Wynwood neighborhood we encountered a lot of smiles and waves.
We ended in Little Haiti to show our solidarity with the fight of the Haitian family for its rights and even survival following the indifference of the Biden Administration to its plight. The joy of the closing event was palpable and left no doubt we will be back in even larger numbers next month. November 28th—Be there!
By Linda Loew
Chicago’s monthly Cuba Caravan to End the U.S. economic and travel embargo against Cuba drew about 20 cars this past Sunday, October 31. We traveled an 8.5-mile loop that passed through the mainly Latinx western suburbs of Cicero and Berwyn and parts of Chicago. At the kickoff rally on the corner of the Cermak Plaza shopping center in Cicero, IL, there was an enthusiastic response from passing cars and trucks, with horns honking, thumbs up, and cheers through rolled down windows. Passing under dramatic skies and among Halloween revelers, this was another successful caravan reaching new people and gaining their support.
These caravans are part of a nationwide and international movement, demanding the end to the 60+ year U.S. economic and travel embargo against Cuba, and the suffering it has caused the Cuban people, who continue to offer outstanding medical solidarity to the rest of the world before and during the COVID crisis.
LOS ANGELES, CA
By Mark Friedman
On October 30, the Los Angeles US Hands-Off Cuba Committee held a caravan to broaden public support for the campaign to end Washington’s economic war against Cuba.
The car caravan centered in the primarily Latinx and Black community of Wilmington. It included distribution of hundreds of flyers at grocery stores. Caravanistas then proceeded for a lunch and political report, followed by discussion and film showings at the Machinists union hall in Wilmington.
Committee activist Ina Martinez introduced two interviews with Cuban medical doctors. Regina Cobian, a new Mexican member of the committee recruited at the October 2 march for women’s rights, presented the movie “Sacha: Child of Chernobyl.”
Ken Kucera, the president of the Machinists union local 1484, invited committee members to speak to union members on November 2 to request support for the movement against the blockade of Cuba.
The committee is working on plans for showing the film “Cuba and Africa” in the Black community the weekend of November 20, building it in part through participating in a showing of the film “Selma” by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
By Argiris Malapanis
About 10 people in six cars took part in the October 30 car caravan in Troy, New York, to spread the message of the campaign demanding an end to the U.S. embargo on Cuba and lifting all U.S. sanctions and travel restrictions. The Albany Cuba Solidarity Committee organized the action. People assembled at the city’s Prospect Park. From there, with flashers blinking and horns honking, they drove through much of Troy’s downtown area, soliciting curiosity and sometimes thumps up and supporting waves.
Jon Flanders, an organizer of the caravan, said supporters of the campaign succeeded earlier this year in passing resolutions at the Troy and Albany labor councils demanding an end to the U.S. blockade of Cuba. After the caravan was over, most of the participants went to the Troy farmers market and distributed flyers with these demands.
By Sandi Sherman
About 15 people took part in bannering here on October 30 to demand an end to the U.S. blockade of Cuba. We did not hold a car caravan this time, but we linked the action to similar protests taking place across the country. The Solidarity Committee of the Americas and the Minnesota Cuba Committee organized the activity.
Categories: Cuba/Cuba Solidarity