47 Cuban migrants spotted in Cayman waters

At least 47 Cuban migrants aboard three boats have been spotted since Friday in the territorial waters of the Cayman Islands, a British possession 125 miles off the southeaster coast of the communist ruled nation.

The Cayman News service reported that a Cuban boat carrying 13 men and two women had been seen Saturday off the Bodden Town area of Grand Cayman, the largest island in the archipelago, and was allowed to sail on.

A reader’s comment attached on Monday to that report on the digital pages of the news service said that another Cuban boat was visible off South Sound in Grand Cayman but did not give the number of passengers or whether they had sailed on or gone ashore.

Another 32 Cuban migrants, including three women, were spotted aboard a tiny boat off the smaller Cayman Brac Island on Friday. Several were treated for nausea but the boat was allowed to go on, according to police reports.

Cubans escaping from the southeastern coast of their island often cross Cayman territorial waters as tides and winds push them toward Honduras, from where the migrants hope to travel by land to the Mexican border with the United States.

Seven Cuban boats were sighted in 2012 in the waters of the Cayman Islands, a banking center and tourist destination with 57,000 permanent residents. Nine were spotted there in 2011 and three in 2010.

Under a 1999 agreement with Havana, Cayman authorities allow Cubans in boats considered to be safe to sail on, but cannot assist them with food, water or boat repairs. Those in unsafe vessels, and those who simply want to get off, are detained ashore.

They can apply for political asylum, but virtually all are rejected and repatriated to Cuba.

Of the 1,200 Cubans who arrived in the Cayman Islands during the 1994 “Rafter Crisis” — when ruler Fidel Castro allowed more than 35,000 Cubans to take to the seas in homemade water craft — only 20 received asylum.

Read more Cuba stories from the Miami Herald

Sixteen migrants are found crammed in this tiny boat around Alligator Lighthouse, which is about four miles offshore of Islamorada in the FLorida Keys.


    More than a dozen Cuban migrants rescued at sea in Keys; several taken to hospital

    A small blue homemade boat with a blue-and-white sail was discovered floating near Alligator Reef Lighthouse, about four miles offshore of Islamorada, on Wednesday. Crammed inside the motorless vessel were 16 Cuban migrants lying down, suffering from dehydration, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

Elsa Lopez looks at her clothes and shoes she wore when she left Cuba with her parents at the age of two at the time. Her items are among several donated by Exiles on display at the VIP opening and presentation of the The Exile Experience: Journey to Freedom, at the Freedom Tower. The exhibit is a pictorial account of the struggles that the Cuban exile community has endured since Fidel Castro's rise to power, and the successes they have achieved in the United States, organized and curated by the Miami Dade College and The Miami Herald, on Wednesday September 10, 2014.


    Exhibition chronicles Cuban exiles story

    More than 1,000 people crammed into the Freedom Tower Wednesday night for a peek at an exhibition that honors one of the city’s oldest buildings – and captures the tales of hundreds of thousands of Cubans who fled the island and made Miami their new home.

This is the raft on which 16 Cubans sailed from Cuba to Alligator Reef Light off Upper Matecumbe Key this week.


    Cuban migrants found suffering from dehydration off the Keys

    Sixteen Cuban migrants were intercepted off the Upper Keys on Wednesday afternoon, and seven of them needed medical attention after suffering from extreme dehydration.

Miami Herald

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