remolcador, Cuba, dictadura

Sinking of the tugboat March 13: 28 years later the crime remains unpunished

Madrid Spain.- On July 13, 1994, the Cuban dictatorship committed one of its most horrendous crimes: the sinking of the tugboat March 13.

In the early hours of that day, the boat was taken by 72 people who, desperate due to the economic situation that Cuba was going through, wanted to leave the island and reach the shores of Florida, to ask for asylum.

When on March 13 he had not yet left the Cuban coast, he was detected by the regime’s authorities, who did not take long to give the order to prevent his departure at any cost.

The Polargo 2, 3 and 5 tugboats attacked the crew who tried to leave the country with pressurized water jets. They did not stop until they caused the ship to sink.

Without the Cuban authorities acting to prevent it, 37 people drowned, including 10 children.

The official media gave their version of the events: The accident had been caused by the irresponsibility of those who tried to take the boat, also described as “antisocial.”

Years later, one of the survivors, María Victoria García, story: “We stopped and told them: ‘We are going to turn back. We are already stopped. And we told him not to hurt us, that we had children there.”

This woman, who lost her 10-year-old son, her brother and her husband that day, denounced that they showed the children to the attackers, “but they kept throwing water.”

Sergio Perodín, also a survivor, assured: “The women and children went up on deck so that the crew of the other boat would realize that they were going to commit a murder. They didn’t stop. In the midst of several maneuvers, on March 13 it collided with the Polargo, and in the incident we managed to put the bow out. Coming out of the bay into the open sea, however, there were two other Polargo boats waiting for us, hidden behind El Morro.”

Those responsible for the sinking were never brought to trial, and 28 years later the crime remains unpunished.

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