Jamaica Prosecutes 10 Cuban Rafters Who Landed in a Luxury Hotel

The group of Cuban rafters have been detained since January 4 in Jamaica. (The Gleaner/Leon Jackson)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 8 January 2024 — A group of 10 Cuban rafters has been detained since January 4 in Jamaica for illegally entering the country. The migrants are waiting for a second hearing, next Thursday, before the Duncans Parish Court. In the first hearing, they pleaded “not guilty” before Judge Paula Hall, according to the newspaper The Gleaner.

The rafters, with support from interpreter Kimberly Watt, said that on December 29 they left the Island on a raft with the intention of reaching Florida. However, the bad weather damaged the raft and forced them to disembark at the Excellence Resort.

According to the Jamaican Embassy in Cuba, the inhabitants of the Island require a tourist visa, which costs 30 euros.

The rafters, with the support of interpreter Kimberly Watt, said that on December 29 they left the Island on a raft with the intention of reaching Florida

Since March 2023, Jamaica has required a visa for every Cuban who transits the country. The measure was taken in the face of the lack of control of people from the Island, who took advantage of the passage through Kingston to travel to Nicaragua and from there continue their journey to the United States.

Officials of the Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency confirmed to The Gleaner that “hundreds of Cubans traveled from the Island in the last three years to secure passage to Central and North America.”

The Government of Cuba maintains a close relationship with Jamaica. Last November, the Cuban Ophthalmological Care Program resumed with the sending of 18 specialists, after its suspension during the COVID-19 pandemic. These health workers joined the nine who arrived in July 2023 and are working in the Kingston public hospital.

Cuba’s ambassador to Jamaica, Fermín Quiñones, highlighted in May the bilateral relationship between the two countries in both health and education. Despite the fact that there is a considerable deficit of teachers in Cuba, agreements are maintained for the sending of teachers to Honduras, Mexico and Jamaica.

Translated by Regina Anavy


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