On March 20, 1986 many South Florida Hispanics were disappointed yet politically emboldened by the result of a close U.S. House vote on President Reagan's Nicaraguan Contra aid bill. Although the proposal was defeated in a 222–210 vote, the outcome was viewed locally as a Latin victory because Miami's moderately liberal Democratic delegation broke ranks with House leadership by voting three to one in support of the President's proposal. It is apparent that pressure felt from Miami's Cuban and Nicaraguan exile communities, as well as from the Florida Commission on Hispanic Affairs and the Cuban-American National Foundation, was decisive in compelling locally elected Democratic House members to support the President over their party.
Two days after the vote, 200 protestors gathered in downtown Miami in a demonstration against Contra aid. Alpha 66, a militant anti-Castro organization, called a counter-demonstration attended by about 2,000 angry Hispanics who threw eggs, rocks, and insults at the smaller group of protestors. Miami riot police escorted the anti-Contra demonstrators away from the scene in buses in order to prevent their injury. The fractious counter-demonstration was broadcast live by a Spanish language radio station and was attended by several local and state officials, including the three Cuban-Americans who constitute a majority on the five-member Miami City Commission. These events underscore an increasingly visible phenomenon in Miami's volatile politics.