14ymedio, Havana, 20 March 2019 — A group of Cuban rafters arrived on the coast of Florida at Sunny Isles on Wednesday, according to a statement from the Coast Guard. At least five rafters managed to escape the authorities as the abandoned the precarious boat which brought them to the U.S. coast.
A witness to the arrival recorded the boat bringing the rafters, from 162nd Street and Collins Avenue. When the authorities arrive the rafters had already escaped, so all they could do was inspect the boat and remove it from the beach.
According to the Border Patrol, the crew of the makeshift craft was made up of five people. Authorities have said they are investigating the incident and as of now they do not know the whereabouts of the rafters.
Since January of 2017 when President Obama put an end to the wet foot/dry foot policy that allowed Cubans who reached US soil to be welcomed as refugees, the number of arrivals on boats from Cuba has dropped significantly.
However, an upturn in illegal arrivals is now expected because of the worsening of the crisis on the island due to the collapse of Venezuela, its main ally. In January a group of 20 rafters arrived in the Florida keys. All were processed and repatriated to Cuba.
In February, eight rafters who launched themselves into the sea from the south of Havana disappeared, according to complaints from their relatives to the independent portal Cubanet, while just a week ago, the Coast Guard rescued 26 Cubans in a raft that was about to be shipwrecked near the Keys.
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