[Marxism] Fwd: miami gusanos pushed off Calle Ocho

Les Schaffer schaffer at optonline.net
Tue Sep 22 07:18:44 MDT 2009

to Tom and others:

copying and pasting from something like Facebook is going to be
problematic in terms of formatting. better to paste into a Word
document, reformat, and then paste into your email application. sounds
like work, i know, but otherwise its VERY difficult for people to read
what you post.



Miami's Cuban community divided over Juanes' Havana Concert for Peace



Updated 4:58 PM EDT, Mon, Sep 21


Carlos Miller

The pro-Juanes Cubans had the bigger flags. They also had the numbers.
And they had youth.

And in the end, they had Versailles Restaurant on Calle Ocho, long a
stronghold of hardline, right-wing politics in Miami.

When it was over, the aging Cuban exile population that arrived in
Miami in the early 1960s and established itself as one of the most
influential political forces in the history of Miami was pigeonholed
to a street corner across Versailles where they were surrounded on the
other three street corners by screaming, chanting and taunting Cubans
who fully supported Sunday’s Juanes concert in Havana.

All the aging exiles could do was destroy blank CDs that had been
scrawled with Juanes' name in magic marker to show their disgust for the
Colombian singer, who had performed for hundreds of thousands of Cubans
in Havana earlier that day.

Perhaps the CD-stomping gesture was meant to be symbolic.

“They have no voice anymore,” said Alfredo Martinez, a 29-year-old Cuban
immigrant who arrived in Miami during the early 1990s.

“This is our time now. We don’t believe in Castro but we believe in
Juanes. He did more for Cuba in one concert than they have done in 40

And that was the sentiment that ran through more than 400 demonstrators
that outnumbered the 200 demonstrators who opposed the concert.

Almost all the demonstrators on both sides of the issue were born in
Cuba but where they stood on the Juanes concert depended mostly on when
they arrived.

It was a monumental – yet unexpected - shift considering the
demonstration had been organized by Vigilia Mambisa, the right-wing
group that has been accused of intimidating opponents through scare
tactics, including last year’s Code Pink protest and an earlier protest
involving the Bolivarian Youth from Florida International University.

But this time, they were clearly outnumbered.

Over the course of several hours, tempers flared, threats were made and
some people even came to blows.

At one point, police tried to disperse the crowd by wailing their sirens
and ordering everybody to go home, but it was to no avail. The
pro-Juanes crowd kept increasing, showing up with musical instruments
or just pots and pans to bang.

The protest began as soon as the concert in Havana ended with members of
Vigilia Mambisa standing on the corner of Versailles as they have done
so many times before, accusing anybody who does not agree with them of
being communists.

But then the younger Cubans started arriving. And they were accompanied
by a few older Cubans who said they were touched by the concert. And the
momentum of the protest changed.

After a few pushing and shoving matches and several screaming bouts
underneath the famous Versailles sign, the hardliners were pushed
across S.W. 36th Ave. where they took position on the sidewalk next to
Farmacia Luis, even hanging up the Vigilia Mambisa banner on the side
of the wall.

And the pro-Juanes Cubans kept multiplying, forcing police to shut down
Eight Street because they kept spilling out into the street in front of
Versailles. By the end of the protest, the pro-Juanes Cubans occupied
the corner of Versailles as well as both street corners on the south
side of Eight Street.

But even before that happened, Vigilia Mambisa had removed their sign
and went home, leaving the dwindling exile crowd to continue fighting
the losing battle.

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