Cubans in Miami don’t protest, but tickets are sold out

HAVANA ,Jan. 21th  When on January 10 the Trump administration decided to reduce direct charter flights from the United States to nine Cuban airports, leaving just Havana as a gateway, thousands of Cubans protested throughout the United States. But in silence. Not raising a ruckus.

The protests were not like at other times when the community has been affected by something that deeply concerns them. In Miami, nobody took to the streets to protest this enormous harm to family communication; the media also did not echo the dissatisfaction. The same happened in October when the administration imposed the same measure for U.S. airlines’ commercial flights.

The Cubans protested, essentially, in the offices of the companies that rent the airplanes, which, of course, can do nothing. “People have come to protest here and are anxious about what will happen. They are booking in bulk for flights before March 10 (when the closure begins) because no one knows what the future holds in store,” explains Marisol Rodríguez, director of the Marazul company, which flies about 18 times a day to the island.

But no one has taken to the streets or concentrated in front of the offices of Cuban-American politicians who support this type of measures. The director of the Cuban Research Institute (CRI) of Florida International University (FIU), Jorge Duany, thinks that this kind of apathy is due to the political environment surrounding the community and that arouses fear.

“The first factor would be the long tradition of more conservative domination in these last 60 years, during which there have been serious incidents. I would say that they may be afraid although the community has changed, we no longer see the bombings that happened in the 1970s. Miami is still a place where public opinion is dominated by the right wing that opposes the Cuban system,” he says.

But, Duany adds, it should also be borne in mind that “many are not citizens nor have they legalized their situation in this country. Now we must bear in mind that in the last 20 years we have noticed a decrease in public activities. Here the last great demonstration took place during the case of the child Elián González or the death of Fidel Castro. But nothing like the activism that existed in the 1980s, which was much more dynamic.”

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