Relatives Ask for Help to Find 35 Rafters who Left Cuba in March

The US Coast Guard reinforced surveillance on the high seas and has detained several groups of Cuban rafters. (Twitter/@USCGSoutheast)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 5 April 2023 — The Humanitarian Parole established by the United States last January has not deterred Cubans from continuing to leave through irregular means, and dozens of them continue to try to reach the Florida coast. This is the case of two groups of at least 35 people who are missing, according to their relatives.

Santiago Jesús Álvarez, one of these disappeared persons, had to sell his refrigerator and television to be able to pay for the trip on the raft, his mother María Álvarez told Univisión 23. Twenty people left Santiago de Cuba on the boat on the 16th March, including several children and a pregnant woman. “I would like to know that at least he is alive, that he is in the Bahamas and that he will return one day.”

According to official data, in the last six months the Coast Guard has frustrated the landing attempts in Florida of 6,250 Cuban rafters, a figure that already exceeds the 6,182 for the entire previous year.

The twin brothers Alexey and Asley González Méndez, 31, their friend Yusdiel de Armas and 12 other people, who left the island for Sagua la Grande on March 24, are also missing, reported Yaiset Rodríguez Fernández through his Facebook account. “Their relatives and friends are desperate because they have not heard from them,” he stressed.

Jairon Leal commented in the publication that this group could be the one that was intercepted by a US Coast Guard vessel, since there were 15 people found, “several of them from Cienfuegos.”

The US agency reported this Tuesday that it “transferred 23 Cubans aboard the Manowar ship” to the Bahamas after they were rescued from the area known as Placer de los Roques.

That same day, it was reported that another 47 people had been returned to the Island on the ship Margaret Norvell after two interceptions off the Florida coast. On Sunday the US returned another group of 67 Cubans. Lieutenant John Beal of the 7th District reiterated that “those rafters who go ashore will be detained and processed for removal.”

Although the landing of Cubans in Florida has decreased since last January, the chief officer of the Border Patrol, Walter Slosar, documented with images the arrival of 89 nationals of the Island in the month of March. The largest group was registered after the arrival of 48 Cubans in two rafts at the Dry Tortugas National Park on March 4.


COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORKThe 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.