July 20, 2021

Media contact: Ed Gilhuly, 305-807-6906, egilhuly@leftcom.com

MIAMI---Members 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East rallied in Miami to show unity with Cuban citizens demanding freedom and fairness after decades of government tyranny, violence and corruption.

Caregivers and other staff at Kendall Regional Medical Center marched, displayed signs and chanted support for brave Cubans who have taken to the streets calling for basic living needs and government reform.

“We’re excited that our brothers and sisters are speaking up across Cuba to demand what is right. The violent and brutal response of the Cuban government is not surprising, but still very sad. Our message to the Cuban people is to stay strong and know that we are with you,” said Joaquin Garcia, an X-ray technician at Kendall Regional. “No citizens – here in the U.S., in Cuba, in Haiti, or anywhere around the world -- should live in fear of their governments, their leaders or their police. Governments should do all they can to protect and help their citizens prosper safely and freely.”

The Kendall rally of 1199SEIU caregivers drew beeps of approval from rush-hour passersby. “Freedom for Cuba, patria y vida!” cheered Ivianne Cartamil, waving both American and Cuban flags. Cartamil is a registered nurse in the hospital’s intensive care unit.

“So many of our members are Cuban, Haitian and from other countries with governments that oppress and victimize their people. That’s a big reason why they’re here in the U.S., seeking freedom and opportunity,” said Dale Ewart, 1199SEIU executive vice president. “No matter where we’re from, we all feel this pain, but also the hope for change and better days to come. That is what our union is about: freedom, security and prosperity for our hard-working members and families.”


1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East is the largest union of healthcare workers in the state, representing more than 25,000 active and retired nurses, certified nursing assistants and other staff in hospitals, nursing homes and other facilities throughout the state.