Monday, March 2, 2009

Dave Sandoval on the NYC rally for change in Cuba

Guest blogger Dave Sandoval, frontman for the band delexilio, gives us his account of yesterday's rally outside the Cuban mission to the UN in New York City.

As I drove past 37th street and Lexington Ave, I lowered the windows, blasting Cuban music*, holding out my fist with my CAMBIO bracelet, and as I drove by honking the horn, I was met with triumphant cheers from some NY and NJ Cubans.

It was a rally in New York City, in front of the Cuban Mission to the UN. Cubans of all ages -- kids, teens, adults, and los viejitos — all together to call for change in Cuba. Legendary jazz musician Paquito D’Rivera made an appearance, and he played his clarinet for the crowd. I shook his hand and told him how his music has been an inspiration to me personally. I was proud to see everyone in NYC, where there isn’t always such a strong Cuban community, come together and brave the 35-degree weather for something we believe in.

We were met with a peaceful counter-protest across the street, where people held up signs calling for “Freeing the Cuban 5” and defending the Cuban revolution. After spending some time on the “Change in Cuba” side, I went over to the other side of the street, to listen to their viewpoints. I spoke to them peacefully and let them get to know me — and let them see that I wasn’t a right-wing extremist, or on the US government payroll (as some believe that all Cuban-Americans are!).

But I let them know that I was just making my voice heard for one thing: peaceful, democratic change in Cuba. Hopefully we were able to spread the message a bit.

*P18 - A Cuban alternative band based in Paris. Check them out here.

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