Last night, Marta Flores on Radio Mambi commented that she had hoped to see more people at the demonstration, especially younger ones. I was perhaps one of the very few under fifty. I looked around to see anyone near my age, but I was a needle in a haystack of middle-agers and retirees.
Among her remarks, Flores mentioned her disgust with a particular incident, of which I can also confirm. She mentioned that aerial banners that day had flown over the park which called on the release of the Cuban Five. I had an instant flashback once she said that because those two planes were unmistakable that afternoon. One after the other, those brightly colored planes flew over Miami's downtown highways, plainly visible to those underneath. I noticed them on my way to the demonstration, but was too far to read what they said.
According to El Nuevo Herald, the two banners read: "Posada-Terrorista-Libertad a los 5" (Posada-Terrorist-Free the 5) and "Posada-Terrorista-Enemigo de América" (Posada-Terrorist-Enemy of America). The exiles saw this as another provocation, but their demonstration saw no other distraction.
Once the final speaker finished and put the megaphone down, the sunburnt crowd began to disperse. Members of Vigilia Mambisa began to fold up their extra-large flag with care and precision, revealing the many times they had unfurled their national colors. Many walked home a short familiar route heading back to Little Havana, still wearing their miniature flags on their guayaberas. But, will it be the same ones the next time around I wondered, concerned with their progressing age.
Flores, reminisced about the old days where large crowds of Cuban-Americans would easily block Calle Ocho in protest, boasting of that old power. She was revealing her concerns about the future of the struggle. What has happened since then she asked herself. She blames communist/socialist propaganda that has poisoned their youth. What else could it be?
Far from Miami, on September 23, 2006, a protest of about 600 people gathered in Washington DC to condemn the incarceration of the Cuban Five, the largest gathering ever for that cause. Just like a bizarro reality, this group called for the extradition of Luis Posada Carriles to Venezuela, and condemned terrorism towards Cuba. These calls are also similar to the ones made in 2005 at the Ibero-American Summit in Spain where all the nations of Latin America signed a resolution calling for the extradition of Luis Posada Carriles to Venezuela, and condemning US policy towards Cuba.
Flores' concern is real. There is a shift occurring. And, that shift may have to do with the younger generation. But, I am not concerned about them like Flores, I have faith in them.