(WFPL) Dozens from Louisville’s Cuban community gathered in NuLu on Sunday evening for a rally in support of an immigrant-owned restaurant that pushed back against demands for greater Black representation in NuLu.
The rally was organized after Fernando Martinez, a Cuban immigrant and partner of the restaurant group behind La Bodeguita de Mima, closed the restaurant at 725 E Market St over the weekend due to protests in NuLu.
Protesters were demanding local businesses in this neighborhood increase the representation of Black products in their stores and Black people in their staffs, among other requests. Martinez, who has denounced the demands, said he was threatened by protesters.
On Sunday, Martinez explained his issue was not with Louisville’s Black community but with “socialism,” which he said he escaped in leaving Cuba for the U.S.
“We’re here to work. We’re dreamers. We’re people who love freedom and love this country,” Martinez said about Cuban-Americans. “This is not a race fight. This is an idea fight.”
The demands from protesters were intended as a redress to two decades of redevelopment in NuLu and surrounding neighborhoods, which displaced Black residents. After Martinez said he and his restaurant were threatened, the Cuban community rallied to his support.
Rally attendees carried several signs mostly denouncing socialism: “No 2 Socialism in America.” “Justice 4 All.” “We Are Peaceful People But Don’t Tread On Us.”
Black Lives Matter supporters are shaking down businesses for protection money. “Nice store you’ve got there…” When Sicilians did this in 1910 on the Lower East Side of New York their group was called the Black Hand. Not much has changed.https://t.co/NKIpAyIJEQ— Jim Rickards (@JamesGRickards) August 3, 2020