Call goes out to South Florida boaters to sail for Cuba; Coast Guard discouraging journey

Published: July 16, 2021 12:34 PM EDT
sail for cuba
Credit: CBS Miami

A call to boaters to meet up Monday to sail south to international waters near Cuba.

“Monday morning, 10 a.m., we want more than 100 boats at Government Cut,” said organizer Osdany Veloz on his Instagram page.

Some who planned to make the voyage rallied on Biscayne Bay Wednesday.

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

“We’re going to be leaving Government Cut and we’re going to do a stop in Marathon and from Marathon we’re going to international waters toward Cuba,” Veloz said.

The plan is to get close to Cuba, but not cross into Cuban waters, to let people on the island know they have support from South Florida.

Jorge Lopez plans to make the trip.

“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,” Lopez said.

He says the plan is to wait until nightfall then shoot off flairs for people on the island to see.

“Me as Cuban, born and raise there, we’ve been fighting for food and supplies for years, now it’s not a matter of supplies it’s a matter of liberty and freedom of speech just like we have in this country,” he said.

Those boaters will face some rough waters in the Florida Straights, possibly 4-6 feet seas.

“It’s probably going to slow us down a bit, but we’re still going to make it happen,” Lopez said.

The Coast Guard discourages trips like this.

“We want to make sure that anybody who’s even thinking of taking to the sea thinks twice about that, it’s a perilous, dangerous journey,” said Coast Guard Rear Admiral Brenden McPherson.

The Coast Guard is aware of the group’s plans and said it’s ready to provide additional resources on the water and in the air for people heading north or south.

“The purpose is to monitor the situation, be there in case something happens. More importantly to discourage people from making a dangerous voyage from the US south,” Rear Admiral McPherson said.