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.here.