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As the federal government appears to be standing pat amid pro-democracy protests in Cuba offering little more than words, local boat owners in Florida are taking action by running food and supplies to Cuban protesters fighting for their freedom.
What are the details?
A large group of boat owners inspired by the protests packed food, water, and medicine and started making trips to the island on Monday, WBFS-TV reported.
“We are just bringing supplies. They are trying to create a group to take on water, food, medicine, whatever we can to take a Cuba,” one boat owner, Dennis Suayero, told the news outlet. “We are just waiting for the approval so we can enter and give it to them.”
They reportedly said that if they’re allowed to get close enough, they plan to hand over all the food and water to the protesters. Even if they can’t get close enough, though, they hope their gesture will be an encouragement.
“We’re going to Havana. If we have to intervene, if we have to stay, we’ll do what we have to do,” another participant, Santiago Rivero, posted on his Instagram, according to the Miami Herald. Rivero is reportedly a local Cuban American influencer with a large following.
“The [U.S.] president has done nothing, supposedly. At a minimum, we want to stand at the border of what are the Havana limits,” he added.
The group’s brave humanitarian actions come in the face of resistance from the federal government, as the U.S. Coast Guard this week warned Floridians not to make the trip.
— USCGSoutheast (@USCGSoutheast) July 12, 2021
Meanwhile, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, himself the son of Cuban immigrants, declared that the U.S. would not accept Cuban refugees seeking escape from the communist country.
“Allow me to be clear: If you take to the sea, you will not come to the United States,” Mayorkas said in a speech Tuesday.
“If individuals make, establish a well-founded fear of persecution or torture, they are referred to third countries for resettlement,” he added. “They will not enter the United States.”
Many in the U.S. are urging the Biden administration to take action in support of the Cuban people and against the oppressive communist regime, especially as reports have surfaced indicating the regime has begun cracking down on the protest movement by shutting off the internet and violently rounding up protesters.
So far, however, the Biden administration has only offered words of support.
Republican Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.), whose parents escaped Cuba in the 1950s, is asking for more:
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) July 15, 2021