MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Efforts from Cuban Americans and allies who’ve been protesting for more than a week, could be seeing some positive results.
President Biden ordered a review of the remittance policy to ensure that any money sent from Cuban Americans to loved ones in Cuba goes entirely to those people without the Cuban government taking a cut.READ MORE: Coast Guard Offloads Record $1.4 Billion In Cocaine, Marijuana At Port Everglades
He also wants to know the pros and cons of increasing staff at the American Embassy in Havana.
In a statement late Monday, the White House says addressing this moment in Cuban history is a top priority.
While most have chosen to protest on the streets of South Florida, others are thinking about setting sail.
Only 90 miles separates the US from Cuba. But they are 90 treacherous miles of rough seas and scorching sun.
Many have attempted the journey across the Florida straits, heading toward the US, toward freedom. But on Thursday, a group of South Floridians plan to go in the opposite direction, toward Cuba, despite vehement warnings from the Department of Homeland Security.
“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, who plans to sail with the flotilla.
Organizers of the flotilla say if 100 boats show up — they’ll sail.READ MORE: Miami Proud: Singer With ‘Voice Of An Angel,’ Amanda Visconti Comforts Cancer Patients
The plan is to go to international waters near the island and shoot of flares at nightfall to show their solidarity with the Cuban people who have been protesting for change.
But they don’t plan to cross into Cuban territory.
“My biggest concern is people’s safety of life,” said Capt. Jeff Grant, a Royal Canadian Air Force Exchange Officer working at Coast Guard Station Miami. “Each time you take to the waters especially far off shore, it’s dangerous, it’s risky.”
On a recent Coast Guard patrol flight over the Florida straits, Captain Grant said the trip is exponentially more dangerous in a raft.
“You got to think that especially if it’s not powered, you’re just at the mercy of the winds and the drift,” he said. “And if it’s a high seas state or some weather coming in, it could take water into the raft. ”
The Coast Guard says this year has seen the highest number of Cuban migrants since 2017 and at least 20 have died attempting the perilous journey in recent weeks.
After 16 days at sea, a group of Cubans had to be rescued when their overloaded boat capsized off the coast of Florida.
“If we see that vessel, if somebody’s waving us down, it looks like they’re in distress, that’s what would kind of drive the operation from there,” Capt. Grant said.MORE NEWS: Deadline Day For Coral Springs Condo Residents Told To Vacate Due To Unsafe Building
As for the flotilla, DHS says it is illegal to sail with the intent of traveling to Cuba for any purpose without a permit. Any boater who enters Cuba’s territory without permission could face fines of $25,000 a day and a decade in prison.