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DHS: Florida boaters risk fines, prison by going to Cuba

A demonstrator holds up a bead necklace in the colors of the Cuban flag, Wednesday, July 14, 2021, in Miami's Little Havana neighborhood, as people rallied in support of antigovernment demonstrations in Cuba. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
A demonstrator holds up a bead necklace in the colors of the Cuban flag, Wednesday, July 14, 2021, in Miami's Little Havana neighborhood, as people rallied in support of antigovernment demonstrations in Cuba. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

MIAMI – The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is warning organizers planning to launch a flotilla next week from South Florida to waters near Cuba that they could risk breaking the law.

The department said in an advisory Thursday that boaters intending to enter Cuban territorial waters must get permission from the U.S. Coast Guard.

Violators risk facing fines of $25,000 a day and 10 years in prison.

According to Osdany Veloz, an organizer of the boaters, the goal of next Monday’s planned trip is to go to international waters near the island, but not cross into Cuban waters, to let island residents know they have supporters in South Florida.