Miami-Dade County

52 migrants repatriated to Cuba

Yaser Cabrera Romero, one of the rafters who arrived from Cuba on Saturday, talks to the press on Sunday and shows the bullet wound he sustained during the crossing.
Yaser Cabrera Romero, one of the rafters who arrived from Cuba on Saturday, talks to the press on Sunday and shows the bullet wound he sustained during the crossing. hgabino@elnuevoherald.com

The Coast Guard on Wednesday repatriated 52 migrants to Bahia de Cabañas, Cuba, including 20 people who were on a boat intercepted over the weekend that had seven people suffering from gunshot wounds.

The group, which was on the Coast Guard Cutter Isaac Mayo, also included migrants from two other interceptions over the weekend.

On Saturday, an aircrew of Air Station Clearwater HC-130, spotted a makeshift raft south of Key West. Crews found 26 Cubans, seven of whom were shot. The most critical six were to taken to a hospital on Stock Island.

Then on Sunday, the Coast Guard Cutter Charles Sexton spotted a vessel south of Key West, with seven people aboard. Later that day, aircrew saw a 35-foot center console vessel south of Dry Tortugas with 25 Cuban migrants aboard.

“Safety of life at sea continues to be the Coast Guard's primary concern,” said Capt. Mark Gordon, chief of enforcement for the Coast Guard 7th District in a statement. “The dangerous waters of the Florida Straits can be unforgiving for the unprepared on ill advised and illegal voyages.”

Since Oct. 1, the Coast Guard 7th District estimates that 2,753 Cubans have attempted to illegally migrate to the United States by sea.

Earlier this month, 58 Cuban migrants intercepted at sea on several vessels were repatriated.

Carli Teproff: 305-376-3587, @CTeproff

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