World-renowned singer Gloria Estefan appeared before the press on Tuesday expressing her strong support for the Ladies in White (wives and relatives of Cuba's political prisoners), and to express her solidarity Estefan is organizing a demonstration on Thursday in Little Havana.
Alfonso Chardy from the Herald notes that "it's not often that a world-class celebrity like singer Gloria Estefan talks about Cuba," and its true. Gloria Estefan has mostly kept herself out of politics, but her personal opinion about the Cuban government has been made clear:
"[Fidel Castro] just needs to go away... I wish he would, that would be the best for the Cuban people, obviously, with no violence and no bloodshed."
Which puts Estefan's ideology along with hardliners (many of whom were present at the press conference), and not exactly with the militants (some of whom were also present at the press conference). But, Gloria Estefan's description of Cuba yesterday [from Herald video] as a country where "the Cuban people ... are enslaved right now" is an exaggeration more likely to come from militants.
But, Cuban exiles of all political stripes are invited to march on Thursday in Little Havana, a demonstration which seems to be part of a larger effort to keep Cuba's political prisoners in the headlines. Since the recent death of political prisoner Orlando Zapata Tamayo and the international outrage that followed, some Cuban exile organizations (and other political hard-liners) have made it clear that this is an opportune time to highlight Cuba's human rights record, and justify the use of political sanctions on the island nation.
Of course, the recommendations by human rights organizations to improve the desperate situation of Cuba's political prisoners are totally ignored. But, the message of a "free Cuba" that will be often heard at the march should be clear: a Cuba free from Fidel and Raul Castro. Until then, the U.S. government shouldn't change a thing about its policy towards Cuba. Welcome to Little Havana, everyone.
(Telemundo51, in an obvious promotional stunt, asks viewers if they will attend Thursday's march: 75% say "yes.")
The Miami Herald and El Nuevo Herald websites will be live-streaming the march tomorrow, and local news stations are planning to provide live coverage during the march which begins at 6pm. It will be interesting to see what effect this maximum coverage will have in Miami and Cuba.
[Gloria Estefan interviewed on Maria Elvira Live!]
[Photo by AP, Ladies in White march in Havana.]