By Austin Carter

MIAMI (CBSMiami) — The conditions in Cuba continue to be a cause for concern in South Florida as Cuban Americans continue to stand in solidarity with the country.

“They don’t have food, they don’t have medicine, they don’t have anything,” said Mohamed Soliman.

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Soliman has had little to no contact with his aunts and uncles who are currently in Cuba, and the images and videos of what’s happening there are frightening.

“There’s always going to be anxiety there’s always going to be that thought in the back of your head that they could get killed at any moment and that’s really hard to deal with,” said Soliman.

Soliman spoke to CBS4 News outside Versailles on Calle Ocho in Little Havana.

Food and medicine shortages amid the COVID-19 pandemic are amplifying concerns as Cuba’s communist regime has also blocked internet access.

“They shut off internet, imagine that,” said Soliman. “People have tried to do streams and stuff online but everything gets taken down.”

Gov. Ron DeSantis spoke Monday after a letter he wrote to President Joe Biden about helping Cuba and getting the island internet had not received a response.

“They went to crackdown on connectivity and shut down the internet, that obviously made it more difficult for Cubans who were seeking freedom to converse with one another and to beam the images of what’s going on to the outside world,” said DeSantis.

Last week, demonstrators chanted and marched through Hialeah and Little Havana.

“I’m wearing my Cuban flag around me and this is my country but this country opens the doors for me and said you’re welcome here and I want that same freedom back in Cuba,” said demonstrator Alexis Perez.

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Over the weekend, hundreds showed up outside the Freedom Tower, once beacon of freedom for Cubans arriving in the U.S., for a rally.

On Monday, there was a small gathering near the Mexican Consulate in Miami to stand against Mexico’s support of the Cuban government.

“Cuban people in Cuba are getting killed, getting hurt, in jail or disappearing and that is not the right way,” said one demonstrator.

A flotilla to Cuba that was originally planned for Monday has now been pushed back until Thursday.

Organizers say if 100 boats show up, they’ll sail.

The plan is to go to international waters near the island, but not cross into Cuban waters.

“The purpose is to stay on the border, not trespassing, stay in international water and just let the Cuban people know we’re also fighting for their freedom, so once and for all they can be a free country,” said Jorge Lopez.

Any boater intending to enter Cuba’s waters must get permission from the Coast Guard and those who do not could face fines of $25,000 a day and a decade in prison.


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