As Florida Boat Owners Run Supplies To Cubans Fighting For Freedom — DHS Said They Could Face Fines

Private boat owners in Florida are taking matters into their own hands in supporting freedom protesters in Cuba by running food and supplies to the island as the federal government appears to be standing pat as the situation continues to escalate.

Local media in Florida reported that large groups of boat owners are packing food, water, medicine and other supplies to take to Havana on Monday as a show of encouragement to the thousands of demonstrators who took to the streets last weekend in protest of the communist regime.

“We are just bringing supplies. They are trying to create a group to take on water, food, medicine, whatever we can to take to Cuba,” Dennis Suayero, a boat owner said according to WBFS-TV.

“We are just waiting for the approval so we can enter and give it to them.”

If allowed to get close enough to the island, the group of private boat owners are planning to hand over all the food, water, and other supplies to the demonstrators — otherwise, they hope that from far away, protesters could gather some “hope” and “encouragement” in their gesture.

“We’re going to Havana. If we have to intervene, if we have to stay, we’ll do what we have to do,” Santiago Rivero, another participant in the supply delivery to Cuba reportedly said according to the Miami Herald. Rivero is said to be a local Cuban American influencer with a large following on social media.

“The [US] president has done nothing, supposedly,” he added. “At a minimum, we want to stand at the border of what are the Havana limits,” Rivero further said.

Inaction from the federal government?

The humanitarian response from Florida locals comes as the federal government under President Joe Biden continues to dilly-dally on its plan to help address the ongoing chaos in Cuba.

The US Coast Guard warned Floridians this week not to make the trip to Cuba.

To make matters worse, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) also issued a statement earlier that the US will not accept Cuban refugees seeking refuge in the country from the communist regime of President Miguel Díaz-Canel. 

“Allow me to be clear: If you take to the sea, you will not come to the United States,” DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, himself the son of Cuban immigrants, said on Tuesday.

“If individuals make, establish a well-founded fear of persecution or torture, they are referred to third countries for resettlement,” he added, reiterating that these immigrants “will not enter the United States.”

Many in the US are calling for the Biden administration to take more action in support of the Cuban people — protesting against the oppressive communist regime in the country — as  reports have surfaced revealing a crackdown on the demonstrators including shutting off the internet and rounding up those involved in the protests. 

But so far, the administration of President Joe Biden has yet to make any action to address the Cuba discord apart from offering words of support.

Republican senators Marco Rubio (Florida) and Ted Cruz  (Texas), who’re both of Cuban descent are asking the Democratic administration to do more.

DHS tells boaters: Risk fines, prison by going to Cuba

Meanwhile, the DHS issued a warning against those planning to go to waters near Cuba from South Florida that they could risk breaking the law.

It said in an advisory that boaters intending to enter Cuban territorial waters must get permission from the U.S. Coast Guard — and that violators risk facing fines of $25,000 a day and 10 years in prison.

“It is illegal for boaters to depart with the intent to travel to Cuba for any purpose without a permit,” the advisory said.

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Steeve Strange

Steeve is the CEO & Co-Founder of The Scoop.