By Pete Seidman


Miami activists made big advances towards unity in action and winning new people to the struggle against the U.S. Blockade of Cuba over the weekend of March 8-10.

          On March 8, International Women’s Day, some 40 people attended a film showing at Florida International University saluting the fight by women and LGBTQ+ people in Cuba for equality. Speakers explained that the blockade was a major obstacle to that struggle.

          The big majority at the meeting were students from FIU, many of whom introduced themselves as Young Socialists of Cuban descent. But a layer of older long-time activists also attended, including Max Lesnik from Radio Miami, leaders from the Alianza Martiana, and the Jose Marti Cultural Association.

          The mood in the room was buoyant, as earlier in the day, five of seven candidates in a slate backed by the campus chapter of the Young Democratic Socialists of America (YDSA) had won election to the student government.

          Excitement built even more when several young people joined the event after participating in a campus protest against a speaking engagement by two Israeli soldiers that took place a little earlier that evening.

          The meeting was co-sponsored by the YDSA and the Miami Coalition to End the U.S. Blockade of Cuba. The Miami DSA, the Miami Caravan to End the Blockade, the Green Party of Miami-Dade County, and the Jose Marti Youth also sponsored.

          YDSA president Oscar Alvarez chaired the event and introduced the evening’s double features: Mariposas en el Andamio (Butterflies in the Scaffold) and Maestra (Teacher).


Butterflies is an award winning 1996 documentary directed by Margaret Gilpin. It offers a rare view of day-to-day life for gays and transvestites in Cuba during the difficult years following the collapse of the Soviet Union.

The documentary follows a group of working class drag queens in the Havana suburb of La Güinera. They gained their neighbors’ respect and became an integral part of the community by forging a coalition with the female leaders of the local construction brigade and performing in the workers’ dining room.

Maestra (Teacher), a 2023 documentary directed by Catherine Murphy interviews women who were among the youngest women teachers of the 1961 Cuban Literacy Campaign. The film is narrated in English by Pulitzer Prize–winning author Alice Walker.

Oher YDSA members presented power points on the themes of the evening. A number of students who identified themselves as trans spoke about how inspiring they found the film.

In brief remarks, Pete Seidman, from the Miami Coalition urged the students to think of themselves like the youth depicted in Cuba’s literacy campaign, going out in the countryside with their lanterns.

“There are hundreds of thousands of Cubans in Miami who have expressed opposition to the blockade. Our job is to carry our lanterns out to bust through the fog of lies and intimidation here to mobilize them in effective actions that can impact U.S. foreign policy,” he urged.

The meeting was covered in Radio Miami, a website widely viewed among Cubans in the U.S. and on the island []

           Two days later, the Miami Coalition to End the U.S. Blockade took part in a March 10 protest organized by the United Teachers of Dade County against attacks on democratic rights and unions in Florida coming down from Gov. Ron DeSantis.

There were some 300 unionists and supporters who marched from Miami Circle (a site marking a nearly 2000-year-old village built by the original Tequesta people of what is today Miami) to a rally at the Torch of Friendship in downtown.

          Coalition members carried a specially-made banner in the march reading: “End the Blockade of Books in Florida! And End the U.S. Blockade of Cuba!”

          At the rally they also displayed a twenty-foot banner calling for an end to the blockade in English and Spanish.

          Almost everyone at the action received a statement of support from the coalition. The statement linked the educators’ struggle to the undemocratic attacks on anti-blockade caravans and other activities perpetrated by rightist organizations often with tacit cooperation from the police and city authorities. A small number of Cuban right-wingers argued at the coalition’s table that there is no such thing as the blockade of Cuba, that this is an excuse used by communists to justify the problems of the Cuban economy. Apart from this handful, most demonstrators received our flyer with interest and appreciation. One Cuban teacher identified herself as a follower of Puentes de Amor, the anti-blockade and material aid organization led by Cuban activist Carlos Lazo.

           Coalition member and YDSA President Oscar Alvarez was among the speakers at the rally. Alvarez blasted the blockade of Cuba in a long list of other U.S. imperialist crimes.

          The Miami Coalition to End the U.S. Blockade of Cuba can be contacted at:


By US-Cuba Normalization Committee

Organizing Committee, International and Nationwide Conference for the Normalization of US-Cuba Relations.