Unemployed and sympathetic Miami-Dade residents marched down Biscayne Boulevard Saturday to voice their discontent with corporate greed and privatized healthcare.
BY DANIELA ABRATT – MIAMI HERALD
Daniel Estinfort served in the United States military for 10 years, during which he was deployed to Iraq three times. In 2002, he earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and began his pursuit of a master’s in international relations in 2005.
Today, the Homestead resident is unemployed.
Estinfort is just one of about 500 people who marched down Biscayne Boulevard on Saturday afternoon, waving flags and chanting, “We want jobs!” and “Down with greed!”
The march began in Bayfront Park in downtown Miami and was the conclusion of a two-hour rally to promote awareness about unemployment issues and corporate taxes.
“I’m here to protest against corruption and greed against the people,” Estinfort said. “The tiny little minority on top gets everything. They get all the tax cuts, and we, the people, are paying.”
The rally was hosted by 1Miami, a grass-roots movement and coalition comprised of Miami residents and organizations like Democracia U.S.A., Florida New Majority and Service Employees International Union.
José Suárez, director of communications for 1Miami, said large Florida corporations . are paying what they legally have to, but they are making billion-dollar profits and receiving huge tax cuts. He said they should give back.
“It just doesn’t make sense,” he said. “The county residents are bearing the burden. People are searching for jobs. We want one Miami that works for everyone.”
The rally attracted a range of residents from across Miami-Dade County, including those who are unemployed and lack health insurance. Patients and employees of the Jackson Health System and ideological supporters also attended.
Representatives from Jackson handed out stickers, orange balloons and flyers about the consequences of the proposed privatization of the hospital and its affiliates.
“Jackson is a great place to work, but they’ll be closing services to the uninsured,” said Samuel Ruiz, a registered nurse at Jackson Memorial Hospital.
Little River resident Dulene Saintilien said her husband works at Jackson, and she’s afraid he might lose his job at a tough time for their family. Saintilien will lose her job at the end of the month when the child-care facility she has worked at for the past three years will close because of lack of funds.
“I have car payments, credit cards bills and four children,” she said. “And if they privatize Jackson? No way!”
The event’s emcee led the rally as a mock trial, providing points of evidence against large Florida corporations. Each point was followed by “eye witnesses,” county residents who shared their stories of struggle and provided testimonies against big spending and joblessness.
The grand jury released its “guilty” verdict and began its march, led by a small band of hand-drummers and steel-horn players.
Blowing whistles and waving noisemakers, the audience embraced and high-fived as it delivered a poster-size “indictment” to their final destination at the Wells Fargo building at 333 SE Second Ave.
Luis Cerros, of Little Havana, marched with the group.
“We want to tell them the citizens of Miami are angry,” he said. “Enough is enough.”