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Cuban officials told reporters not to take pictures of the family or the boat, which bore the name Salty and had a paw print on its side.

Andrew Zych, a Canadian docked in a sailboat steps away from the Hakkens, said the family had arrived recently and seemed normal.

“I liked the way they played with the kids,” he said, adding he was surprised to learn of events in the U.S.

Associated Press writers Christine Armario, Curt Anderson and Kelli Kennedy in Miami; Kevin McGill in New Orleans; and Matthew Lee in Washington contributed to this report.