Crowd grows outside Versailles near stage on Calle Ocho

More SOS Cuba protesters arrive at Calle Ocho for Little Havana concert
More SOS Cuba protesters arrive at Calle Ocho for Little Havana concert

MIAMI – The Miami Police Department expects about 15,000 people to attend the SOS Cuba concert Wednesday afternoon in Miami’s Little Havana.

Asst. Chief Manny Morales said he told police officers during the briefing that 99% of the people who will attend the concert just want to exercise their constitutional rights.

Officers closed Eighth, Seventh, and Ninth streets, between Southwest 32nd and 37th avenues, to vehicular traffic at 2:30 p.m. Morales said the closures were to keep both drivers and pedestrians safe.

Miami SOS Cuba protesters start to gather around stage on Calle Ocho
Miami SOS Cuba protesters start to gather around stage on Calle Ocho

The crowd was steadily growing in front of the stage between the Versailles and La Carreta Cuban restaurants on Calle Ocho.

“We hope for the best; we prepare for the worst,” Morales said, later adding, “We secured it. We don’t want anyone getting hurt.

Miami SOS Cuba concert: Officers plan to enforce noise ordinance at 11 p.m.
Miami SOS Cuba concert: Officers plan to enforce noise ordinance at 11 p.m.

Arriel Montalvo was among the Miami-Dade County residents who arrived early outside of Versailles in preparation for the concert, which will end before 11 p.m. Montalvo said he hasn’t heard from his relatives on the communist island after the uprising Sunday.

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“They’re dying right now for a free Cuba and this is the least I can do, to be here,” Montalvo said.

 Preparations continue for SOS Cuba concert in Little Havana
Preparations continue for SOS Cuba concert in Little Havana

Ramón Saúl Sánchez, who moved to the U.S. from Cuba in 1967, has been strategizing against communism for decades. He has been following the crackdown on the opposition. Videos show raids, shootings, beatings, and arrests.

“It might not be the end yet,” Sánchez said. “We need to support them.”

This is a developing story.

COMPLETE COVERAGE

The historic SOS Cuba protests in cities on the communist island on July 11 prompted a series of demonstrations in Miami-Dade County. (Historic Protests SOS Cuba)

Coverage on July 13

Demonstrators sit on the median separating the north and southbound lanes of the Palmetto Expressway, Tuesday, July 13, 2021, in Miami. (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Coverage on July 12

Cuban exiles rally at Versailles Restaurant in Miami’s Little Havana neighborhood in support of protesters in Cuba, Monday, July 12, 2021, in Miami. (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Coverage on July 11

Government supporters shout slogans as anti-government protesters march in Havana, Cuba, Sunday, July 11, 2021. (AP Photo/Ismael Francisco) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

For more about the situation in Cuba in Spanish, visit the Local 10 News “en español” page.

Copyright 2021 by WPLG Local10.com – All rights reserved.


About the Authors:

Bridgette Matter joined the Local 10 News team as a reporter in July 2021. Before moving to South Florida, she began her career in South Bend, Indiana and spent six years in Jacksonville as a reporter and weekend anchor.

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.