Ahead of protests, authorities in Cuba have restricted internet access, blocking social media sites in an apparent effort to stop the flow of information into, out of and within the country.
Gemeny Hernandez is working to refill cell phone minutes and data for Cuban people on the island. She said so far she’s been able to refill close to 200 cell phones.
"My grandparents would love nothing more than to step foot back on that island and it not be the island that they left," she said.
Gemeny is a second-generation Cuban-American. She’s made it her mission to open up a line of communication between people living in the U.S. and Cuba.
"The majority of the stories that I've received are the people I've spoken to through Instagram, where I'm primarily getting all of the donations and all of their message requests, have told me that they haven’t spoke to their families in days. I haven’t been able to figure out why or what it was that was stopping that communication but I have been successful in hearing those people who weren’t able to speak to their families, have heard back from them," she said.
Gemeny said she’s working with apps such as Cubatel, that offers mobile recharges to Cuba.
"You have an option of how much money you can put in, how many minutes you can put in, whether or not you put in data. I have made my base contribution [of] 500 Cuban pesos, 2 GB of data and 50 minutes additional speaking," she said.
Thousands of people continue to rally across the country to support protesters in Cuba. In Miami Wednesday, demonstrators began their march at Cafe Versailles in Little Havana and ended up in downtown at the freedom tower. A five mile treck.
City of Miami mayor Francis Suarez added to the conversation.
"At the end of the day, the Cuban people are not chanting we want food we want medicine. They’re chanting we want liberty," said Suarez.
"Overall there’s a sign [and] a breath of “finally”. We’ve been waiting for this moment for so long. It’s a mix of emotions," said Hernandez.
If you would like to help, Gemeny said you can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or find her on Instagram at holagemeny.