A group of Cuban migrants arrived on the shores of Florida. In this case, it was a group of at least 6 people – three men and three women – who confirmed to witnesses that they left Cuba in a precarious boat and arrived at the coast of Dania Beach, in the south of the state.
What is most striking about the case is the raft in which they successfully made the crossing. They had no motor, they were just provisionally tied up homemade materials, with a sail made of wood and sackcloth. Inside the boat there were two oars that were allegedly used to reach Florida.
It is the second time in a week that a group of rafters arrive in the southern state in these precarious conditions, with all the risk that this implies. Earlier this week, a group of 25 people washed up on the shores of Key Biscayne, in Miami Dade County. On that occasion they were intercepted upon making landfall, but released 48 hours later.
In the case of those who arrived in Dania Beach, the authorities have not confirmed their immigration status, but in these cases they are usually prosecuted for illegal entry into the country, a fact that is dismissed after a year if they manage to obtain the political asylum (which, being Cuban, is usually a simple process).
Until the last week of the government of Barack Obama, and since the time of Bill Clinton in the presidency, there was a law called “Dry Feet, Wet Feet”. This implied that every Cuban who managed to reach the mainland in the United States immediately received political asylum. Without this law, the situation is not so simple, although the chances of seeking asylum in the country for those who escape communism are much greater than for those who come from other countries.
The Coast Guard usually patrols the Straits of Florida and if it finds groups trying to reach the coast of the United States, it intercepts them and deports them. Last Wednesday, the Coast Guard reported that they deported 77 Cubans who were trying to cross the Straits of Florida on a water bike.
During the last two years, with the strong economic crisis that Cuba is facing as a result of the loss of income from tourism due to the pandemic, the number of Cubans leaving the island with a view to settling in the United States has grown exponentially. The number of Cubans who arrived at the border of this country between October of last year and May of this year exceeds 140,000 people, this without counting those who jump into the sea.
Between April and October 1980, in what is known as the Mariel crisis, 125,000 people left the port of Havana, a figure considerably less than what is being seen today.