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Half a thousand Cubans arrived in small boats in the Florida Keys on New Year's weekend


The massive influx forced local authorities to close the well-known Dry Tortuga National Park. Inflation and food shortages suffered by the island have fueled the departure of Cubans to the United States.


The Associated Press

At least 500 migrants have arrived in small boats in the Florida Keys in recent days, a situation that local authorities described Monday as "a crisis" and that forced the closure of a famous national park that attracts tourists from around the world. for its seabed.

Economic instability, food shortages and rising inflation in Cuba and other parts of the Caribbean have fueled the arrival of migrants to the United States in recent weeks.

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Over New Year's weekend, 300 people landed in the remote Dry Tortugas National Park, about 70 miles (about 113 kilometers) west of Key West.

As a consequence, the authorities decided to close it.

Medical personnel were able to evaluate the group before transferring it to Key West, according to those responsible for the facility on the social network Twitter.

Another group of 160 migrants also reached other areas of the Florida Keys by sea over the weekend, according to authorities, while on Monday 30 people divided into two groups were located in the Middle Keys.

At least 88 of the immigrants come from Cuba, according to the US Customs and Border Protection Service. in a tweet.

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Monroe County Sheriff Rick Ramsay criticized the federal government's response to the uptick in migrant arrivals in a statement, saying they are straining local resources.

Border Patrol responded to the sheriff's office that the federal response may take up to a day to execute, according to the sheriff's note.

“Refugee arrivals are resource intensive for the Sheriff's Office as we help our federal law enforcement partners ensure migrants are healthy and safe,” said Ramsay, whose jurisdiction covers the Keys. .

“This demonstrates the lack of a work plan on the part of the federal government to deal with a massive migration problem that was foreseeable,” he pointed out.

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Officials from the Dry Tortugas National Park said they expect it to remain closed for several days due to the space occupied and the resources needed to care for the migrants.

The reserve is located on the southern tip of the country's mainland and attracts scuba divers and snorkelers for its coral reefs, nesting sea turtles, tropical fish and shipwrecks.

“As elsewhere in the Florida Keys, the park has recently seen an increase in the number of people arriving by boat from Cuba and landing on the islands of Dry Tortugas National Park,” the National Park Service said in a statement. a statement.

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US Border Patrol and Coast Guard crews patrolling South Florida and the Keys have experienced the largest escalation in boat migrations in nearly a decade, with hundreds of interceptions in recent months, mostly of people from Cuba and Haiti.

From October 1, 2022 to date, some 3,830 Cubans have been intercepted at sea, according to data from the Coast Guard.

Source: telemundo

All news articles on 2023-01-03

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