Five Rafters Die After Being Rammed by a Cuban Coast Guard Boat

The boat sank on Friday “after colliding with a surface unit of the Coast Guard Troops,” said the official report. (Twitter/Diario Artemisa)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, 29 October 2022 — Five dead — one man, three women and a minor female child — as a result of the sinking of a boat carrying Cuban migrants north of Bahía Honda, in Artemisa province. The boat sank on Friday, “after colliding with a surface unit of the Coast Guard Troops while it was being identified,” according to a report from the Ministry of the Interior.

According to the government, 23 people were rescued by other units that joined the search and rescue.

The official statement accused the United States of encouraging illegal exits and points to the economic embargo as one of the “main incentives.”

“The United States Government does not contribute to guarantee safe, orderly and legal emigration, while at the same time it attempts to create socially destabilizing situations,” said the statement read on the television newscast.

Cuban authorities are investigating “this painful event” that “occurred as a result of hostile and cruel policies of the Government of the United States against Cuba,” the brief statement continued.

As the news spread, it has started to cause a stir on social media where many were reminded of the 13 de Marzo tugboat, a small boat, which sank in July 1994 resulting in the death of 41 Cubans who were trying to leave Cuba. The testimonies of survivors confirmed the government’s responsibility in the ramming and the use of water cannons against the vessel.

This year, the American Coast Guard has intercepted 6,182 Cubans who were trying to reach the country through maritime routes, seven times the number detained in 2021. So far this month, they have intercepted 921 rafters from the Island.

Last Thursday, the Chief Patrol Agent in Miami, Walter Slosar, who had documented the arrival of several of these rafters, announced the landing of 24 people, four of whom were children, in Marathon, Florida, on a boat named La Crema. After receiving medical attention, they were taken into custody.

One day earlier, Slosar had confirmed the arrival of 80 rafters who landed in the area of Marquesas Keys in Florida. Among them was Loisel De León Morales, a young man who recorded the trip with 21 friends. After turning themselves in, they were set free and reunited with family as they await to learn their future.

The Cubans who reach American soil have a greater chance of receiving asylum, while rafters intercepted in international waters must prove they are victims of harassment by the regime, otherwise they are returned to the Island.

Translated by: Silvia Suárez


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