CUBAN OPPOSITION: “OBAMA, TRAITOR!”

NewsMax on December 20, 2014, reported that Cuban opposition leaders from the island joined Cuban American politicians and activists, pledging to oppose President Barack Obama’s plan to normalize relations with the communist nation and disputing the notion that their community is split by a generational divide. Excerpts below:

“The opposition will continue fighting, with or without Barack Obama,” Cuban activist Jorge Luis Garcia Perez, known by his nickname “Antunez,” said to cheers.

The gathering at a Little Havana park drew more than 200 people, largely older Cuban exiles who chanted “Obama, traitor!” and waved U.S. and Cuban flags. Some expressed disappointment that the protest was not larger; the demonstrators filled about half the park.

The protest featured two high-profile Cuban dissidents: Garcia Perez, who spent 17 years in jail for his activities and has gone on hunger strikes to protest the treatment of political prisoners, and Berta Soler, spokeswoman for the island-based Ladies in White, a group of Cuban mothers and wives of dissidents arrested in the 2003 government crackdown there.

Soler said a normalized relationship between Cuba and the U.S. would “perfect the repressive mechanism of the Cuban government.”

“Cuba needs freedom, and that freedom depends on the Cubans,” she said.

The Cuban-American speakers included former Florida Congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart and state Sen. Anitere Florida. Both argued that Obama’s gestures would do nothing to improve the prospects of a democratic Cuba.

Florida, who is of the young generation, said:”Our generation feels as strongly and in some cases even more strongly than our parents,” she said.

Freddy Suastegui, 31, of Miami, listened to the speeches with his family. He said the latest decisions disregard the work being done to promote change in Cuba.

“What diplomacy is going to happen if the Castros aren’t promising anything and we’re going to go ahead and infuse them with more cash?” he said. “That just makes the regime stronger and the people weaker.”

Miami is no stranger to protests from the Cuban community. Of the estimated 2 million Cubans living in the United States, the majority resides in South Florida and many remain closely attuned to developments on the island.

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