Protesters In Little Havana Don't Want Embargo Against Cuba Lifted

Dec 22, 2014

Several hundred protesters gathered at Jose Marti Park in Little Havana Saturday. They wanted President Obama to know that they do not support the U.S.'s new policy towards Cuba.

Protester Jose Valdez says he doesn't want President Obama to "lift the embargo against Cuba without getting any concessions in return."
Credit Jessica Meszaros / WLRN

Protesters waving Cuban flags and hand-written signs surrounded the stage at the park. They calmly listened to personal stories and opinions from whoever grabbed the microphone.

Lydia Perez was among the crowd. She was a political prisoner in Cuba when she was just 17 and served a six-year sentence.

"I went from school to prison," she says. "And that was hard." 

Perez brought her two young grandchildren along to the rally to show them that there is lots of support for the embargo.

"I'm little-by-little showing them how is the system," she says.

Perez says she was depressed when President Obama announced the change in policy with Cuba.

Ashleigh Samlut is a 19-year-old student at Johns Hopkins University. She says many in her Cuban generation support the embargo. 

"I think it's mostly a difference between different exile waves, not necessarily a generational thing," she said. "Cubans are united. We support the embargo and we'd like you to listen to us.”