MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – As protests calling for change in Cuba continue to occur throughout South Florida, especially in Miami-Dade County, the Cuban government has made an unprecedented announcement to allow donations to the island.
The communist nation announced all plane passengers will be allowed to bring unlimited supplies of food, medicine, and hygiene products to the country between now and the end of the year.
“I actually spent the entire year of COVID there because I got stuck. So, I saw how bad it was, and it’s just been getting worse and worse,” explained Vanessa Grau who is flying to Cuba with food and supplies.
Grau lives in Miami, but has family on the island, including her husband.
As soon as she heard about the change, she started a donation drive to collect extra food and medicine, which she brought on her flight to Havana, Monday morning.
“I just hope that it gets to go through — I hope that what they’re saying is not a lie,” she explained. “I think that they’re kind of doing this to make people think, ‘Oh, we’re good.’ Not really the truth, but, at least it’s allowing us to help some people there.’”
The change comes more than a week after the historic uprisings in Cuba that sparked a week of solidarity protests all across South Florida.
The latest protest occurred on Sunday, where nearly 100 people held a silent march through the streets of Little Havana hoping to call attention the plight of the people there on the island who are still in need of basic supplies.
“What we want to do is bring attention to the fact that people are being beaten on the streets. There are people bleeding out —women, children, youth, and that shouldn’t be happening anywhere,” explained Gabriella Gutierrez of Students for a Free Cuba.
“Just let people know that we’re behind them, that we’re going to continue fighting for freedom,” added Grau. “Because at the end of the day, the medicines help, but what we want at the end is freedom for all.”