Ladies in White March Brings Generations Together

Sons, daughters and grand kids of Cuban exiles participate

By Hank Tester
|  Friday, Mar 26, 2010  |  Updated 8:15 PM EDT
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Damas Miami March Day After

It was a remarkable several hours in Miami's Little Havana and when the Damas March was over, many involved felt they'd participated in something special and different.

Ladies in White March

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It was surprising, massive, and maybe a game changer. Over 100,000 people descending on the streets of Little Havana in support of the Ladies in White.

The event wasn't organized by any exile group, it was put together in just two days by Emilio and Gloria Estefan.

No firebrand speeches, very few politicians, it was all about the people.

"The Cubans here see a spark in the island and want to see that spark grow and want to show their solidarity," said participant Jaime Suchlicki.

All dressed up in white, supporters denouncing the repression of the Damas de Blanco packed Calle Ocho Thursday.

The crowd was packed with younger Cubans, sons, daughters and grand kids of original exiles. Most were American-educated, with free speech the focus.

"Today's a good day for all Cubans to be here and be together and representing and helping those ladies in Cuba doing what they're doing," said marcher Manny Valdez, who brought his family.

Ramon Saul Sanchez, from the Exile Democracy Movement, has always advocated that Cubans on the island should generate change, not Cubans here in Miami.

"Everything around the struggle that is taking place right now is inspirational to people and they are coming back to their roots saying I want to see the homeland of my parents free," Sanchez said.

Many of the marchers got the word from popular radio station DJs, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, text messages, bloggers. The same person-to-person word of mouth that happens to some extent in Cuba.

"The role that technology plays in all of this, closed societies are not closed societies anymore," Sanchez said.

Thursday's march was not all that focused on Fidel or Raul but on ladies in white waging a not so lonely battle against oppression. Now it's time to see what the legacy of the demonstration will be.

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