Florida residents are supporting pro-democracy demonstrators in Cuba by delivering food and other supplies to the anti-communists using their own boats.
According to a CBS reporter in Miami, a large collective of boat owners set off for the island on Monday, loaded down with water, food, and medicine.
Dennis Suayero spoke with the reporter, explaining that they “are just brining supplies… whatever we can.” He added that they were “waiting for the approval” to enter Cuban waters “and give it to them.”
The boaters are attempting the voyage despite explicit warnings from the Coast Guard to not make unsanctioned visits to Cuba.
The Coast Guard made a statement on Monday, stating that they were “a humanitarian organization” who’s primary purpose is to protect lives, and that they “support… the Cuban people exercising… freedom of expression and assembly,” however, they also warned that migrants should not attempt a sea voyage as “the transit is dangerous,” citing that almost 20 individuals died in “recent weeks” attempting such voyages.
The improvised aid runs follow a crackdown by the Cuban government against protestors and demonstrators who demanded democracy as a replacement for the failing communist dictatorship. Protestors flooded the streets over the weekend, demanding change as they suffer shortages of food, medical care, electricity, and economic opportunity, in addition to having very few freedoms. In response, the government responded by arresting, killing, and beating protesters, as well as shutting down the island’s cellular and internet services in order to gag information leaving the island.
Cuba’s President, Miguel Diaz-Canel, threatened protestors and demanded that they return home and end all anti-communist demonstrations. Several reports claim that the president is currently preparing for a civil war between pro-democracy and pro-communist supporters.
On Sunday, Diaz-Canal issued “the order to fight… into the street, revolutionaries!” calling on “revolutionaries… communists, to hit the streets” and stifle the “provocations.”
He explicitly claimed that the government will never “hand over… sovereignty or… independence to the people.” Diaz-Canal also warned that the country had “many revolutionaries… willing to give our lives… do anything” in order to maintain the communist regime.
Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) made an effort to get the U.S. more involved in Cuba’s struggle for democracy by speaking on the Senate floor on Monday. A Cuban descendent himself, Rubio called on President Biden to make the matter of restoring internet and thereby the voice of pro-democracy protestors a “top priority.”
Rubio also warned that this is how Marxism and socialism always end up, first gaining power by dividing the people into the “oppressor class and… this victim class,” then when the communist government fails to “deliver the security,” they don’t hand your freedoms back, instead repressing individuals who complain. “That’s what’s happened in Cuba.”
Author: Lisa Craig