Cubans Clash on Streets of Panama - NBC 6 South Florida

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Cubans Clash on Streets of Panama

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    Cuban Dissidents Clash With Pro-Government Cubans in Panama

    Cuban dissidents and pro-Castro Cubans clash in Panama ahead of the Summit of the Americas. (Published Wednesday, April 8, 2015)

    Cuban exiles from Miami clashed with pro-government Cubans in Panama Wednesday ahead of the Summit of the Americas.

    Video filmed by Panamanian newspaper La Estrella showed the fight on the streets of Panama City. It was unknown what sparked the fight or if anyone was injured.

    Dissidents said moments before the clash they held a silent, peaceful march to a park where there's a Jose Marti monument.

    Miami resident and co-founder of the Cuban Democratic Directorate Orlando Gutierrez was one of at least three American citizens involved in the fracas.

    South Florida politicians blamed the violence on the pro-Castro side.

    "Today, the Castro regime once again demonstrated that it is the same violent, terrorist dictatorship that it has always been, as it continues to export its brand of thuggery and aggression anywhere that it finds dissent," Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart said.

    "Today’s attack by Cuban regime thugs on peaceful pro-democracy protestors and U.S. citizens in Panama is just another reminder of the brutality of the Castro brothers and their enablers," Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen said. "Even in the shadow of the Summit of the Americas, these serial oppressors cannot resist their impulse to beat innocent men and women for practicing their right to freedom of speech."

    The two-day summit begins Friday and will be attended by President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro.

    NBC 6 reporter Julia Bagg is traveling to Panama to cover the summit. Watch her live reports beginning Thursday.

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