Dozens of Cubans of all ages demonstrated on Saturday on Calle Ocho in Little Havana, in front of the emblematic Versailles restaurant — the nerve center of Cuban exiles in Miami.
They were upset about the presence of “Team Asere,” the Cuban national baseball team who is in Miami to play in the semifinals of the World Baseball Classic in Miami on Sunday.
The protest was called by the exile group Vigilia Mambisa, which brought out its famous “mambisa steamroller,” to smash bats and baseballs as a symbol of “Castrocommunist tyranny,” they said.
They also smashed a poster depicting spy Gerardo Hernandez, whom they accused of being the “assassin of the Brothers to the Rescue,” along with Cuban baseball player Alfredo Despaigne.
Vigilia Mambisa has also called for another protest, on Sunday at 6 p.m., near loanDepot Park stadium, the site of the semifinal game.
Mercedes Pedregón, 62, a native of Havana, has been in Miami for 20 years and is an activist with the organization Exilio Unido Ya.
“I am against the participation of the baseball team because it represents the dictatorship and the entire Castro regime,” said Pedregón, who hopes that at least “one or two players will desert,” despite the control the Cuban security forces exercise against them.