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Biden administration sends another 45 Cuban escapees back to communism

U.S. officials said the “rustic vessels” were hovering in Caribbean waters about 20 miles outside the small Florida islands and pursued reports of possible trouble by other boaters

U.S. Coast Guard officials described the Cuban boats as "rustic vessels"
La Guardia Costera de EEUU describió los barcos cubanos como "embarcaciones rústicas" | U.S. Coast Guard

June 20, 2022 4:32pm

Updated: June 20, 2022 8:34pm

U.S. officials repatriated 45 migrants back to their communist homeland of Cuba Sunday after the Coast Guard intercepted four vessels near the Florida Keys last week, according to the maritime branch's 7th District.

Officials said the “rustic vessels” were hovering in Caribbean waters about 20 miles outside the small Florida islands and pursued reports of possible trouble by other boaters.

The sightings were not connected to a separate, recent incident involving two boats colliding near Miami’s Key Biscayne Friday night at 10:30 p.m.

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

The first rustic vessel was located Wednesday evening about 12 miles off the coast of Boot Key, according to a U.S. Coast Guard report.

The U.S. patrol received reports about the other vessels on Friday, with one boat sighted 17 miles off of Long Key about 11:45 a.m. and another two off the coast of Big Pine Key at around high noon, one 22 miles away and the other 17 miles away.

The next day, the Coast Guard Cutter Charles Sexton crew returned 45 migrants from those “rustic vessels” back to the Cuban island. 

U.S. officials said that all migrants who travel with the Coast Guard receive “food, water, shelter and basic medical attention.”

Since Oct. 1, 2021 the Coast Guard have intercepted 2,464 Cubans, the highest number since Fiscal Year 2016, which amounted to 5,396. 

By comparison, the Coast Guard intercepted 838 Cubans in fiscal year 2021, 49 in 2020, 313 in 2019, 259 in 2018, 1,468 in 2017 and 5,396 in 2016.

This is in line with a similar trend in rising numbers of migrants along the U.S.-Mexico border. U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced last week that May saw a record number of 239,416 encounters with migrants,” FOX News reported.