On Saturday the United States Coast Guard returned to Cuba a group of illegal migrants made up of 90 people, according to its website. The note does not specify age composition or gender distribution.
The group is part of five interdictions carried out between Wednesday and Thursday, when the migrants were sighted in different areas of the Florida Keys, aboard rustic boats in their attempts to reach the United States coasts.
"These voyages are not only illegal, but also incredibly dangerous," said Lt. Paul Puddington, Coast Guard Seventh District.
— USCGSoutheast (@USCGSoutheast) August 27, 2022
The first group was rescued from the water, where they had thrown themselves after their boat’s engine began to smoke, according to the report. The incident occurred Wednesday at around 4 p.m., about two miles south of Key West.
Also on Wednesday, at 6:15 p.m., a second group was intercepted some 29 miles south of Saddlebunch Keys, sailing aboard another rustic craft, and shortly after, at night, another group was intercepted, also aboard a rustic craft, about 26 miles south of Cayo Marquesas.
The fourth interdiction was on a makeshift boat, also on Wednesday, at approximately 8:30 p.m., but about 32 miles south of Long Key. Meanwhile, the fifth group, traveling in a makeshift boat, was detained at approximately 8 p.m. on Thursday, about 46 miles south of Key West.
“These voyages are not only illegal but also incredibly dangerous,” said Lt. Paul Puddington, Coast Guard Seventh District.
The repatriation took place aboard the Coast Guard cutter Raymond Evans. Last Thursday, the Coast Guard had already notified the return to the island of 88 people.
The U.S. Coast Guard has also detained migrants from Haiti and the Dominican Republic these days, but in smaller numbers. Just since October 1, 2021, a total of 4,614 Cubans have been intercepted, according to the data published to date. The figure is close to that of 2016, when they totaled 5,396, and is much higher than that of the previous five years (2017-2021) to the current fiscal year.
By land, the number of migrants from the island arriving in the United States is much higher, since according to official figures they add up to more than 140,000 from October to April alone.
The Cuban citizens trying to reach U.S. territory both by land and by sea have increased significantly in recent months due to the deep economic crisis Cuba is experiencing. The number of irregular migrants now exceeds the number of those who left the island during the so-called Mariel crisis.