The United States Coast Guard repatriated another 67 Cubans aboard the ship to the island on Monday Richard Etheridge. The agency urged rafters “not to go to sea” in the face of the imminent arrival of Tropical Storm Nicole. “It’s causing rough seas and strong winds,” stressed in a statement District Seven Warrant Officer Nicole Groll.
According to figures from the Coast Guard, so far in November, 227 Cubans have been repatriated in four groups. Groll warned that this month they have registered the death of eight migrants in their attempt to reach the United States illegally.
Last June, the leader of the Democracy Movement, Ramón Saúl Sánchez, warned the US authorities about the lack of a protocol to identify and repatriate the remains of the rafters who lose their lives in the dangerous crossing of the Florida Strait.
In one of these incidents, six Cubans died at the end of September and another 13 remained as disappeared, when, with seven other nationals, they tried to achieve the American dream. The raft in which they made the crossing capsized near Stock Island, neighboring Key West.
The remains of one of these victims, Amarilys Malagon Perez, arrived in Havana on Saturday and were transferred to the Güira de Melena municipality, in Artemisa, and handed over to their relatives. “We don’t want to see a repeat of the loss of life,” Groll reiterated that all those “illegally migrating by sea will not be allowed to stay.”
Since October 1, Coast Guard crews have intercepted 1,588 Cubans.
This Monday the Cuban exile Albert Fonse reported on his Facebook account that since October 31 at least 23 rafters from the Batabanó municipality, Mayabeque, have been missing. “They left along the north coast of Artemisa, at least one minor and two women were on the boat,” he specified.
Fonse reported that among the crew members of the vessel are Denis Michel Linares Mederos, Alian Martines Collazo, Adian Martinez Collazo, Yunior Rúa Tamayo and Yosvany Pantalión Albares.
The Coast Guard has insisted on the dangers of Cyclone Nicole. According to the National Hurricane Center, as of Tuesday morning the system was 350 miles northeast of the Bahamas and 460 miles east of West Palm Beach, Florida. It had maximum sustained winds of 50 miles per hour and was moving west at a speed of 9 miles per hour.
Also on Monday, the Border Patrol reported the landing of three groups of rafters, a total of migrants, including 57 from the Island and four from India. Without providing further details, the chief officer of the Miami sector indicated that they were taken into custody and an investigation is open.
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