March 29, 2012
Cammy Clark, The Miami Herald
OFFSHORE OF HAVANA -- As the bright orange sun set Tuesday, a Cuban exile flotilla of three fishing boats called the Democracia, Muscle Princess and Nilito’s Toy II stopped in choppy, deep blue international waters — 12 ½ nautical miles from Havana — to set off fireworks. They symbolized “lights to liberty.”
At first, just a few tall buildings could be seen in the distance. As it got darker, the entire coastline lit up.
“I’m thinking I’m so close, yet so far away,” said Rufina Velazquez, 23, who came to Miami in 2009 on a political refugee visa. “This is the closest I’ve been to my family for over three years and the closest I am going to be in I don’t know how many more years. The Cuban government is keeping me not just from my family, but from my people and my country.”...