The fourth protest to end travel restrictions to Cuba took place on July 8 in front of Hialeah City Hall, a largely Cuban immigrant city close to Miami. This action, called by the Association of Christian Women in Defense of the Cuban Family, drew nearly 100 people. Among other groups in attendance were Miami-Dade Democracy for America, the anti-war ANSWER Coalition (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) and the Broward Anti-War Coalition.

The last protest was in Kendall in southwest Dade County in front of right-wing representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen’s office.

Many of the Cuban Americans in attendance are affected by the travel ban.


María de la Torre, aged 73 and born in Cuba, has a large family on the island but has been unable to see them for many years due to the inhuman measure pushed for and supported by Congress members Lincoln and Marío Díaz-Balart, together with Ros-Lehtinen, who introduced the restrictions on travel and money remittances to Cuba, which came in 2004.

“They are like my children and grandchildren. I love them and miss them lots. But I can’t visit them,” said la Torre, who is a member of the Association of Christian Women in Defense of the Cuban Family.

Simon Rose, press secretary of Miami-Dade Democracy for America, said that his friend Lourdes Arteaga, who lives in Louisville, Ky., was unable to go to Cuba to see her dying father or attend his funeral.

“My wife, Nubia, who is Cuban American, used to visit her mother twice a year; my mother-in-law isn’t well, she suffers with her nerves. But now her only daughter has to wait years to see her.”

Under the present restrictions, those who have blood relatives can only visit them once every three years for a period of two weeks.

“They have reclassified the family; aunts, uncles and cousins are no longer family if they live in Cuba and you live here. And this comes from a so-called Republican Party with family values,” said Rose.

The travel restrictions are part of the U.S. government’s overall attempt to reverse the gains of the Cuban revolution and re-annex the island.