LITTLE HAVANA (CBSMiami) – One thing Cuban-Americans on both sides of this historic reopening of the U.S. embassy are not lacking is passion – from screaming matches, to sign smashing, to brawls in the street.READ MORE: 2 Hospitalized Following Shooting On Turnpike
At La Carreta restaurant in West Miami-Dade, peaceful protest ruled the evening on Friday.
Cuban-American protesters expressed their anger with the opening of the US Embassy in Cuba, and the ceremony to raise the Stars and Stripes.
“The flag of the United States stands for freedom, liberty and respect for all, and that’s what they’re not showing. They’re not showing freedom, they’re not showing liberty” said protest organizer Clauda de la Vega.
Anti-Castro protesters and those in support of the new developing relationship between the U.S. and Cuba also wanted to be heard outside Cafe Versailles in Little Havana.
“It has to begin somewhere you know. The American influence is strong. Our way of life is vibrant and hopefully it will seep into the Cuban community,” said Estaban de la Ossa.
Others, like Guillermo Diaz, say the U.S. is accepting a banana republic.
“Here the United States has reached out its hand to a bloody tyranny that has not changed, that has not conceded, that keep systematically violating the rights of its own people,” said Diaz.READ MORE: Miami Weather: Enjoy Cooler Temps, Warmer Trend On The Way
And some feel the White House has left out who they feel is the most important group of all.
“The fact that the dissidents in Cuba haven’t been invited to the ceremony that really upsets me a lot. And the fact that the Cuban exile community hasn’t been counted with that really upsets me a lot,” said Cuban-American Hector Schwerdt.
Miami Archbishop Thomas Wenski, like Pope Francis who helped broker the deal between the two nations says the Catholic church has never given up on Cuba.
“The church has always had diplomatic relationships with Cuba longer than they’ve had diplomatic relationships with the Unites States.”
He says the two nations’ cooperation will assist the church as it continues to advocate for human rights on the island.
“We would hope that our two governments continue to engage. And through this engagement the Cuban people will achieve a better future.”
Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen said she was sickened by Secretary Kerry’s speech in Havana, accusing the White House of appeasing the Castro regime.MORE NEWS: Cold Fronts Bring More Than Just Cool Dry Air To South Florida