Cuban freedom fighters were present in Little Havana (Miami) when the Cuba policy of the Republican administration was announced on June 16, 2017. President Donald Trump slammed Obama’s policy and put Castro on notice.

Among those honored in Miami were Mario and Miriam de la Pena, parents representing Mario Manuel de la Pena who was murdered by the Castro regime in 1996 at the age of 25. Freedom fighter de la Pena served as volunteer pilot for the operation Brothers to the Rescue. His plane was shot down by a Cuban MiG-29 over international waters, killing four.

It was a crime against humanity and violation of American law by the Cuban tyranny and condemned by the United Nations Security Council and the U.N. Commission on Human Rights. A Cuban spy in the United States had to the Castro regime revelead the flight plan of the rescue planes. After serving 16 years in an American prison the spy was allowed to return to Cuba, where he was celebrated.

Mirta Costa Mendez represented her brother Carlos Costa. He was among those humanitarian helpers who were shot down by Cuban Migs. Carlos Costa was another victim of the Brothers to the Rescue shootdown. Costa was 29 years old when he died.

Freedom fighter Antonio G. Rodiles is a Cuban dissident who works with dissident groups based in Miami. His advice to the Trump administration is to squeeze the government in Havana once and for all. Rodiles said that many Cubans share his views.

Rosa Maria Paya represented her father Oswaldo Paya. He was a Cuban democracy activist who was murdered by the Castro regime in 2012. A vehicular homicide was used to cover up this communist crime. His daughter is working to inform about the abuse and terror tactics of Raul Castro. For her work Paya has been subject to harassment herself.

Her activities include calling out the regime for the abuses of power and terror tactics it supposedly abandoned when Obama implemented his liberalizing policy.

Sylvia Iriondo is the president of Mothers and Women Against Repression. She has been critical of those who has supported Obama’s Cuba policy and the belief that a communist regime can self-liberalize. Irondio is wondering how any member of the Cuban-American community can fail to see the ongoing crimes of the Castro regime. Raul Castro is still ordering the killing of opponents and use of totalitarian techniques to remain in power.

Violinist Luis Haza began performing at the age of 11. His father was murdered by Fidel Castro when he was still a child. His family fled to Spain and continued to seek refuge in the United States. In a 2003 interview Haza said:“I had so much emotion pent up that music became my obsession. Since I could not express my feelings verbally, violin became my way of expression,” he said in a 2003 interview. For years he has been fighting for the cause of freedom for his native land.He is now able to express those feelings verbally, musically, and through tireless education and activism in the cause of freedom.

Once he was forced at gunpoint by the Castro regime to play music after refusing to participate in a command performance for Raul Castro. Instead he played the American national anthem, which he also played in Miami on June 16.

The freedom fighters Jorge Luis Garcia Perez and Bertha Antunez, a brother and sister, were also among those honored in Miami on June 16. Jorge Luis Garcia Perez was arrested in 1990 at the age of 24 for protesting the Castro regime and its discrimination against the Afro-Cuban minority. He served 17 years because he was refusing to attend “re-education”.

His sister Bertha Antunez has signed an open letter calling the Obama policy “little more than a string of unilateral concessions to a totalitarian dictatorship that has tirelessly repressed the Cuban people for the past 56 years.” She thinks the repression has increased in Cuba because the government believes that it can repress without reaction as Obama recognized the communist regime as a legitimate government.

Bertha Antunez received an award from the National Endowment for Democracy on behalf of a group of Cuban dissidents, including her father, in 2009. She did not at the time receive any message from President Obama in support of the award.


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