South Florida Cubans rallied Wednesday and Thursday at the Nicaraguan consulate as dozens of Cubans desperate for freedom remain stranded after being denied entry into Nicaragua.
"There's no freedom in Cuba, there's no freedom and everybody knows that," protester Alicia Garcia said.
Garcia, along with others in the group of protesters, arrived in the United States during the 1994 Cuban Raft Exodus. They said the Cubans at the Nicaragua-Costa Rica border are living a similar experience just 21 years later.
"We need to help that people because that people pass too much to try to live in freedom," Garcia said.
Approximately 2,000 Cubans are stuck at the Peñas Blancas border after Nicaraguan troops blocked them from entering the country Sunday. The group is part of a growing surge trying to reach the United States since Washington and Havana mended broken ties.
A six-month-old, Emily Cabrera, is believed to be the youngest Cuban stranded at the border. She innocently played at the shelter, unaware of the difficult reality.
Her father said she learned to eat solid food during the dangerous journey across multiple countries. The parents don't regret the decision to bring Emily, but admit they spent many nights scared for their safety.
The re-establishment of diplomatic ties between the U.S. and Cuba has sparked fear in some that there may be an end to the 'wet foot, dry foot' policy that allows Cubans who make it to the U.S. to stay.
Late Tuesday, the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Relations blamed the United States for the migrant issue in Central America saying the Cuban Adjustment Act encourages irregular immigration and called the 'wet foot, dry foot' policy inconsistent with the current bilateral context.
According to a U.S. Department of State spokesperson, the U.S. has no plans to change its immigration policies with regard to Cuba.
"The people don't believe in any change. If Castro continues there, there's not any change possible," Garcia said.
There have been several waves of Cuban migration to the United States since 1959. The first mass exodus happened shortly after Castro's revolution when more than 14,000 unaccompanied minors traveled to Miami in Operation Peter Pan.
Then came the period between 1965 and 1973 with the Camarioca Boatlift and the Freedom Flights which brought an estimated 300,000 Cubans to Miami. Another mass exodus happened in 1980 with the Mariel Boatlift.
In 1994, Fidel Castro indicated his forces would not prevent refugees from fleeing the country and more than 35,000 Cubans risked their lives at sea in the Cuban Raft Exodus.
"No young people that I had the opportunity to speak to thinks that there are going to be any major political changes and they not want to wait for any economic changes," said Andy Gomez, Cuba expert.