by Art Heitzer
A lively caravan of some 25 bikes and cars hit the neighborhood south of Mitchell Park, as similar actions took place in 10 cities in the U.S. and Canada, plus in other countries. The “showdown” was in Miami, where a threatened massive counter demonstration, pushed on local media, fizzled with about 100 angry and frustrated detractors being substantially outnumbered by the original caravan movement. This format of grassroots protest, which has been active and growing for more than a year, is composed of Cuban-Americans, other Latinx and Anglos who demand an end to the U.S. economic blockade and its cruel impact on the people of Cuba.
In Milwaukee, we were welcomed by Juan Miguel Martinez, the newly elected Milwaukee County Supervisor for the area where we rallied and caravaned. Supervisor Martinez expressed pride that as a worker and organizer, he has become the first elected Latinx socialist in Milwaukee, and gave a short history of the attacks on Cuba’s attempt to determine its own direction, free of US domination.
Speakers included Rosita Garcia courageously shared her moving story of transgender victimization as she seeks asylum in the United States (read her full statement, available in Spanish and English). She was joined by Christine Neuman Ortiz, leader of Voces de la Frontera, one of the largest and most effective immigrant rights organizations in the U.S. Milwaukee-native Dr. Alexandra Skeeter, who recently graduated from Cuba’s Latin American School of Medicine, expressed appreciation and solidarity for both Cuba and the friendship movements here in the U.S., while also emotionally reflecting the recent mass shootings in the U.S. of elementary school students and teachers in Uvalde, Texas and of Black shoppers in Buffalo, New York.
Participants pledged to continue to Caravan, meeting next on Sunday, June 26, 1pm, at a new location, Zao MKE Church, 2319 E. Kenwood Blvd.