Thousands of people led by Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel marched along Havana’s iconic boardwalk Thursday in a show of solidarity with the Palestinian people and demanding an end to the war between Israel and Hamas. Wearing a black-and-white Palestinian keffiyeh scarf, Díaz-Canel was accompanied by Cuban’s main leaders, including Prime Minister Manuel Marrero and Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez. The marchers walked for 2 kilometres (1.2 miles), passing in front of the U.S. Embassy. Palestinian medical students who were in Cuba as part of a cooperation program joined the rally.
“Today we are supporting the Palestinian people, supporting all those people who feel the pain of having lost a family member, a loved one due to this massacre,” said Yanquiel Cardoso, a physical culture specialist who participated. “We are asking for a ceasefire … and for Palestine to be free.” Many young people had posters with the phrase “Free Palestine” with crude photographs of children injured by bombs or flags identifying both Cubans and Palestinians. “This march means a lot to us,” said Sami Sabala, a 26-year-old Palestinian medical student in Havana. “It raises feelings. And it makes people feel that Palestine is not alone.”
The war started Oct. 7 when Hamas militants entered southern Israel, killing about 1,200 people and taking about 240 hostages being taken to Gaza. Israel’s crushing aerial, ground and naval offensive in Gaza has left more than 13,300 Palestinians dead and caused wide destruction in the sealed-off enclave. Since the war began, this is the second time that Cuba’s top leaders have participated in solidarity rallies. Last week, the Palestinian flag was projected on the monument to José Martí, the most iconic in the Caribbean capital.