U.S. Coast Guard Repatriates 31 Cuban Rafters

Wednesday, May 22, 2024 by Ethan Navarro

U.S. Coast Guard Repatriates 31 Cuban Rafters
Cuban rafter boat in the Florida Straits - Image by © United States Coast Guard (USCG)

The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) repatriated 31 Cuban rafters to Cuba on Wednesday after intercepting them in various vessels attempting to reach the United States through the Straits of Florida.

A statement from the border control agency released Wednesday indicated that the first detention occurred last Friday morning. Agents from Sector Key West received a report from the cutter Walnut about an illegal migrant voyage 38 miles southwest of Marquesas, in southern Florida. The Walnut crew arrived at the location and brought the migrants onboard.

Later that same Friday afternoon, another rafter vessel was intercepted 23 miles north of Matanzas, Cuba, after being detected by an HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircrew from the Miami Air Station. The cutter Walnut was dispatched to the scene and safely boarded the migrants.

On Saturday morning, a "good Samaritan" alerted officials from Sector Key West about a migrant boat 23 miles south of Plantation Key. Crews from the Islamorada USCG station arrived at the location and boarded the migrants.

"Once aboard a Coast Guard cutter, all migrants are treated with dignity and respect, and receive food, water, shelter, and basic medical care," reaffirmed the U.S. Coast Guard statement.

Lieutenant Commander Juan Ramirez, prosecutor for the Coast Guard's Seventh District, stated that their "top priority is to prevent the tragic loss of life at sea," while emphasizing that "safe, orderly, and legal migration is best for the United States and our partner countries in the Caribbean."

The Coast Guard, along with the Southeast National Security Task Force (HSTF), "will continue to be present in the air and on the water to detect and deter migrants from illegally entering the U.S. by sea," the statement noted.

On May 17, the U.S. Coast Guard returned 26 Cuban rafters captured at sea while attempting to illegally enter the country near the Florida Keys. The Ministry of the Interior (MININT) of Cuba revealed that the 26 rafters had departed from Villa Clara and had been navigating for three days when intercepted by U.S. authorities.

On the same day, another seven Cuban rafters who managed to reach land in Cayo Largo were detected and detained by Border Patrol agents in the Miami sector.

The U.S. government continues to insist that all individuals attempting or arriving illegally by sea will not be allowed to stay in the country, will be processed according to U.S. laws and policies, and returned to their country of origin or departure.

The exodus of Cuban migrants, mainly heading to the United States by sea or land, shows no signs of ending.

In April, 17,870 Cubans arrived by sea and land in the northern country, according to statistics from the Customs and Border Protection (CBP). This number brings the total to 144,378 arrivals during the current fiscal year 2024, which began last October 1, adding to the staggering figures of the worst migration crisis in Cuba's history, which began in late 2021.

In recent weeks, news of Cuban rafters landing on U.S. and other countries' shores, shipwrecks, interceptions, and rescues by cruise ships at sea have been relentless, with fatal incidents like the death of four migrants who were adrift in their vessel.

During that voyage, four other Cubans survived and were rescued by Mexican fishermen off the coast of San Fernando, in Tamaulipas, Mexico.

FAQs on Cuban Migrant Repatriation by U.S. Coast Guard

Here are some frequently asked questions regarding the recent repatriation of Cuban migrants by the U.S. Coast Guard.

How many Cuban migrants were repatriated by the U.S. Coast Guard recently?

The U.S. Coast Guard recently repatriated 31 Cuban migrants.

Where were the Cuban migrants intercepted?

The Cuban migrants were intercepted in the Straits of Florida, including locations near Marquesas, Matanzas, and Plantation Key.

What measures does the U.S. Coast Guard take to ensure the safety of intercepted migrants?

The U.S. Coast Guard ensures that all intercepted migrants are treated with dignity and respect, providing them with food, water, shelter, and basic medical care.

© CubaHeadlines 2024

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