Granma International
June 24, 2004

Extremists lose control of Miami streets for the first time!

BY JEAN-GUY ALLARD -Special for Granma International-

“For the first time, they’ve lost the streets of Miami!” commented one participant in the Family Caravans that invaded 8th St. and Flagler St, two of this city’s most important boulevards last Saturday. The individual was referring to the Cuban-American extremists who have traditionally dominated this area. This Cuban-American citizen was speaking to a group of journalists who had gathered at Havana’s Cuban Institute for Friendship with the Peoples.

“Bush has been told that the vote itself can be used to support or to reprimand and in this case, our vote is going to be used to reprimand because we believe that these restrictions that have been established are totally arbitrary, monstrous and inhuman,” stressed this U.S. citizen, who requested to remain anonymous precisely because of the current fanaticism of U.S. federal officials.

“This has no historical comparison in any other country in the world: How are you going to impose restrictions as to who is my family and who isn’t?” he asked, bitterly disappointed by the anti-family restrictions.

“This is absurd. It is indefensible. And I believe that at this moment in time, the president of the United States should take into account that he’s really put his foot in it now….totally.”

Particularly condemning the attitude of Congressman Lincoln Díaz-Balart, “one of the seven driving forces” behind the measures, the Miami inhabitant described Bush’s advisors in that city as “people with a visceral hatred of the Cuban people.”

“This movement is going to continue, develop and will end with those measures being abolished,” he concluded.


Also present at the conference was Damián Díaz, from Miami’s José Martí Association, who confirmed that opponents of the march “were shocked by the force of this spontaneous rather than political movement to support family rights.”

The caravans were organized specifically around the issue of families, he pointed out.

“This is going to be catastrophic for Bush and in November, he’ll see why he’s going to lose Florida. And he’s going to lose it because of the Cuban vote…”.

He conceded that Bush would have the vote “of those that left here in 1959 and who know nothing about Cuban realities.”

“But some of their descendents and the vast majority of those who arrived there from 1980 onwards are going to exercise their vote against the current administration.”

How are you so certain that this is going to happen?

“Throughout the caravan’s journey, I saw that between the people who sounded their horns and those who were on the street, the average number was four in favor of the caravan for every one against. And this was right across Miami to Hialeah, for about 30 miles,” he said.

For Díaz, this movement will grow and, as the U.S. public becomes aware of it, it could become a campaign like the one for Elián in terms of U.S. public opinion.”

The caravans’ journey ended in front of Ermita de Hialeah, a well-known pilrimage for Cuban-Americans.

“On seeing the church completely full, one had the impression that this movement will keep growing,” commented Díaz.

For his part, Jacinto Valdés from the Miami’s Workers’ Alliance affirmed that “80% of the people who took part appeared there spontaneously.”

Television broadcasts showed the hysterical reaction from opponents of the protest. “They’re just some recalcitrants from the 1950s who are stuck in a time warp. They’ve never moved on from that period.

“They never believed that the protest was going to be of this magnitude,” he said before announcing that another demonstration has already been called, this time outside Lincoln Díaz-Balart’s offices on July 4.