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Growing Number of Cuban Refugees Fleeing Island by Sea

Growing Number of Cuban Refugees Fleeing Island by Sea

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The number of Cubans trying to flee communism and reach the coasts of Florida in fragile boats continues to increase, and only in the five months of the current fiscal year, the number is higher than the entire previous period, according to official figures.

According to the Seventh District of the U.S. Coast Guard, since October 1st, 2020, when the current fiscal year began, and to date, 67 Cubans have been intercepted in the vicinity of the Straits of Florida.

Over the course of the 2020 fiscal year, which began on October 1st, 2019 and ended on September 30 last year, a total of 49 Cubans were intercepted, as confirmed to EFE Brandon Murray, spokesman for this federal agency.

The figure reflects an increasing trend, although they are lower numbers than the attempts made by people who left the Dominican Republic (to Puerto Rico), 103 so far this fiscal year, or the Cubans themselves before the “wet foot/dry foot” policy was eliminated in 2017.

In the face of the so-called “rafter crisis,” in 1994, the now extinct “wet foot/dry foot” policy was established by virtue of which any Cuban arriving in U.S. territory could legally stay in the country, while those found at sea were returned to the island.

The door of entry of Cubans to the United States was open until January 12th, 2017, after then-President Barack Obama withdrew the immigration benefits to Cubans, by canceling by executive order this policy as a favor to the Castro regime.

In the months prior to such cancellation, there were waves of thousands of Cuban migrants taking to the sea heading to Florida, but after the entry into force the crossing of the so-called “balseros” (rafters) was reduced significantly and became unusual.

Last Saturday, Coast Guard agents rescued eight Cubans, six men and two women, whose small and precarious boat capsized off the coast of St. Lucie County, Florida.

According to a video distributed Monday by the Sheriff’s Office of neighboring Martin County, the boat capsized due to the strong waves and its occupants were thrown into the sea. The two women were pregnant, authorities confirmed.

“All were located and brought to shore. All eight were transported to local hospitals and are in stable condition,” said the statement from the Martin County Sheriff’s Office, about 159 kilometers north of Miami.

This month, Coast Guard agents rescued three Cuban nationals, two men and a woman, who were stranded for more than a month on an uninhabited island in the Bahamas after being shipwrecked, and who survived by eating coconuts and rats.

The three were taken to a Florida immigration center pending a decision on whether or not to allow them to remain in the United States.

Cuba’s collectivist policies ruined the country’s productive apparatus, driving the island and its inhabitants into poverty, and 60 years after an iron dictatorship, people continue to try to escape.

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