More Cuban migrants heading to US shores, says Coast Guard
MIAMI — The number of people trying to defect to the United States by sea from Cuba continues to rise, the U.S. Coast Guard said Wednesday, despite a detente between the long-time rivals.
The coastguard estimates that 4,084 Cubans “attempted to illegally migrate via the sea” already in fiscal year 2015, which has three weeks remaining. This continues increases seen in each of the past several years.
Cuban migrants, unlike those from any other nation, are allowed to stay in the United States if they reach land, but they are repatriated if picked up at sea.
The coastguard said 116 Cubans caught at sea were repatriated to the island nation this week.
Fear that this special treatment will end has triggered an increase in attempted crossings since Washington and Havana announced in December plans to restore diplomatic ties, which they did on July 20.
In fiscal year 2014, 3,940 Cubans attempted to reach the U.S. by sea, often on crude rafts or overcrowded boats, up from 2,129 in the same period in 2013 and 1,082 in 2010, according to coastguard figures.
The numbers represent “the total amount of at-sea interdictions, landings and disruptions in the Florida Straits, the Caribbean and Atlantic,” the coastguard said.
Cuba is about 90 miles (150 kilometers) across shark-infested waters from the southernmost part of Florida.
“The coastguard strongly discourages attempts to illegally enter the country by taking to the sea,” said Captain Mark Gordon, the regional coastguard chief of response enforcement. “These trips are incredibly dangerous.”
You may be interested
Costa Rica pledges to reduce violence against womenAFP and The Tico Times - August 15, 2018
The government of Costa Rica declared Tuesday that the reduction of violence against women is "a national priority" and announced…
Our favorite photos of motherhood in Costa Rica through the yearsKatherine Stanley - August 15, 2018
As The Tico Times celebrates Mother's Day this year, we're looking back at some of our favorite stories and images…
Nicaraguans visit zoo en masse after call for helpLa Prensa / Julio Estrada Galo and Roy Moncada - August 14, 2018
Hundreds of Nicaraguans visited the national zoo, located on the highway between Managua and Masaya, to help cover costs and…