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Twelve Cuban rafters have been missing for 20 days

A group of 12 Cuban rafters has been missing for 20 days after leaving in a rustic boat bound for the United States from Nuevitas, Camagüey.

The migrants left that central-eastern town of Cuba 20 days ago and since then there has been no news of them.

Among the rafters there was a married couple formed by the young Darlieni de la Caridad Serrú Fernández and Luis Romero González.

Serrú Fernández, whose mother lives in the United States, is three months pregnant.

The Cuban migration crisis has left dozens of people missing at sea in recent months.

Last April, different groups of rafters who had been reported missing by their relatives turned up alive and several of them were repatriated to the island.

One of the cases was that of 13 Cubans from San José de las Lajas who had left on April 14 in a rustic boat through Santa Cruz del Norte, in the province of Mayabeque, but appeared near the coast of Florida.

Another group of 20 Cubans who had left through Villa Clara on April 18 also appeared and was repatriated to the island. In that case, the immigrants were intercepted by the United States Coast Guard (USCG) and spent eight days on the mother ship “in not very good conditions” until they were finally handed over to the Cuban authorities.

Since the beginning of the current fiscal year, on October 1, 2021, there have been more than 2,600 Cubans detained at sea by the US Coast Guard, a USCG statement revealed this Thursday.

That figure exceeds that of the fiscal years of 2021 (838), 2020 (49), 2019 (313), 2018 (259) and 2017, when 1,468 Cubans were detained in their attempt to reach the Florida coast.

The biggest stampede of migrants from the island by sea in the last six years was that of 2016, when 5,396 rafters set out for the Caribbean for fear of the repeal of the presidential executive order, known as “Dry Feet/Wet Feet”, which facilitated entry into the United States, and that after the thaw with Cuba in 2015 it could be revoked at any time, as it finally happened at the beginning of 2017 with the arrival of Donald Trump to the White House.

Last Friday, Cuban immigration authorities reported that 3,289 Cubans have been returned to the island so far in 2022 from Mexico, the United States, the Bahamas and the Cayman Islands.

The United States is the territory that has returned the most Cubans, with 1,777 repatriations; followed by Mexico, with 1,276; Bahamas, with 213; Cayman Islands, with two; In addition, from 21 other destinations, the official data pointed out.

For its part, in the last week, the Department of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) reported that the Cuban migratory flow by land amounted to 140,602 during the first eight months of the current fiscal year.

That figure officially confirms the largest exodus of Cuban immigrants to US territory in six decades, far surpassing that of Mariel in 1980, when some 125,000 people left the island in just seven months.

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José Martí
José Martí
Nacionalista cubano, poeta, filósofo, ensayista, periodista, traductor, profesor y editor.

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