October 1, 2022
The Coast Guard sent 45 migrants back to Cuba on Sunday after interdicting them last week.

The Coast Guard sent 45 migrants back to Cuba on Sunday after interdicting them last week.

Authorities spotted the migrants on four different boats off Florida‘s coast last week amid one of the largest known annual exoduses of Cuban “balseros” since 2016, the Miami Herald reported.

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“The possibility of being stopped by Coast Guard crews while illegally migrating through the Caribbean Sea is high,” said Lt. Cmdr. Mark Cobb of the Coast Guard 7th District. “No one should risk their lives on unsafe rustic vessels in unpredictable seas.”

The first interdiction took place on Wednesday when a civilian identified a vessel about 12 miles south of Boot Key. On Friday, witnesses spotted three more boats from various locations near Long Key and Big Pine Key.

Once in custody, the Coast Guard provides migrants with medical support, food, and water, according to the Coast Guard 7th District, which announced the interdiction.

Photos from the Coast Guard depicted migrants huddled and crowded on tiny wooden boats that appeared shabby.

Cuban interdiction
One of those boats spotted carrying Cuban migrants last week was wooden and appeared tattered for the journey toward Florida’s coast.
Photo courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard District 7.

Recently the Cuban regime issued punishments such as prison time and other sanctions against 381 people who participated in anti-government protests last year, Al Jazeera reported.

Detainment of Cuban migrants at sea has been ticking up in 2022. From October 2020 through Sunday, there had been 2,464 Cubans stopped. That figure eclipses 838 from 2021, 49 from 2020, 313 from 2019, 259 from 2018, and 1,468 from 2017, per the Coast Guard.

Cuban migrants
A photo from the Coast Guard depicts Cuban migrants aboard a rustic vessel.
Photo courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard District 7.

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In 2016, there had been 5,396 Cubans stopped. The Coast Guard measures apprehensions by fiscal year, which runs from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30.

Last Tuesday, the Coast Guard said it returned 52 people to Cuba.

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