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"I prefer to die to achieve my dream": what is known about the almost 500 migrants who arrived in the Florida Keys


The disembarkation of hundreds of people in recent days forced the temporary closure of the Dry Tortugas National Park, whose staff has turned to assist them. They will then be processed by Customs and Border Protection officials.

A man jumps into the sand when he touches the shore, behind him others jump out of a boat, run to the beach, hug each other and shout for joy.

Their arrival in the United States was recorded by a user on social networks that shows the euphoria and relief of these migrants when they set foot on land and finish the dangerous journey.

In just a matter of days, some 500 Cubans have landed in the Florida Keys, quickly overwhelming local authorities who have worked around the clock to welcome them.

At least 90 of them are already in the custody of the United States Coast Guard (USCG), the agency reported.

[The Government plans to extend the humanitarian program to Cubans, Nicaraguans and Haitians in response to the migration crisis]

“The arrival of refugees requires many resources from the Sheriff's Office as we help our federal law enforcement partners to ensure that migrants are in good health and safety,” said Monroe County Sheriff Rick Ramsay, it's a statement.

"This shows a lack of a work plan by the federal government to handle a massive migration that was predictable."

Before, he said, boats arrived from Cuba once every two or three weeks, but in recent months the number has risen to two or three a day.

Migrants are arriving in areas that are usually limited to locals or tourists visiting the Dry Tortugas National Park, which encompasses seven islands.

This was the case of Enid Magari, who recorded the event on her Twitter account.

According to his account, on December 31, he was camping in the park when 80 migrants disembarked.

By January 1, there were already "close to 300."

At that time he and other tourists were asked to leave the island.

As of January 2, and until further notice, the park closed to the public to attend to and rescue migrants, some stranded on islets, the authorities reported in a statement.

[“How do I tell my girl that her father is dead”: what is known about the shipwreck of 27 Cuban migrants in Florida]

"I witnessed four landings," said Magari, who recognized "the level of humanity" with which park workers received them, giving them food and shelter.

According to her, five rangers were assisted by tourists with translation, food and even medical advice to help the migrants.

According to information released Tuesday night, Dry Tortugas National Park staff provide them with food and shelter while they are handed over to Customs and Border Protection.

One of the rustic boats found in the Keys, Florida. Wilfredo Lee / AP

“I prefer to die to achieve my dream and help my family


The situation in Cuba is very bad,” Jeiler del Toro Díaz assured the Miami Herald newspaper, shortly after arriving in Key Largo on Tuesday.

Many of these journeys end in tragedy.

In September, for example, a rustic boat that left the island with 27 people capsized a few miles off Stock Island, Florida.

Few survived.

According to The Associated Press (AP) news agency, many of the recently arrived migrants were waiting by the side of a highway to be processed by the authorities.

This was confirmed by the Miami Herald, which also reported that people from local communities have given them food and drinks.

The Office of Customs and Border Protection indicated that "agents have responded to a large volume of landings of migrants in the Florida Keys."

This is a 400% increase in encounters

, said Walter N. Slosar, chief of Border Patrol in the Miami sector.

“There is a humanitarian and immigration crisis and it is necessary for the president (Biden) to respond by helping local authorities,” Ramón Raúl Sánchez, of the Democracy Movement, a Cuban-American group that visited the area to provide assistance, told the AP.

Videos and photos of the rescue carried out by two cruise ships that sailed along the Florida coast and helped migrants who were trying to reach the United States in rustic boats also circulate on social networks.

A deep economic, social and political crisis

The increase in the migration of people from Cuba to the United States "reflects the deep economic, social and political crisis that the island has suffered in recent years," Jorge Duany, an expert on migration issues and director of the Cuban Research Institute, told Telemundo News. from Florida International University.

Although many are intercepted by the Coast Guard at sea, hundreds continue to venture out.

The agency reported that so far this new fiscal year —which began on October 1— some 4,200 have been detected.

The average number of people, per day, has increased from two in the 2020 and 2021 fiscal periods, to 17 last year to 43 currently.

"Unfortunately, it does not seem that these conditions will improve substantially in the short term

, so Cubans will probably continue to emigrate on a large scale," warned Duany, who believes that the resumption of operations of the United States embassy in Havana "could help to mitigate the flow of undocumented Cubans".

Cuban migrants wait to be picked up by Border Patrol agents on the side of a highway. Miami Herald / TNS

It could also influence the start of the deportations of those who do not meet the requirements for political asylum, announced in November, without specifying a specific date as to when they will begin.

[Are you afraid of being deported?

What you should know about the resumption of ICE flights to Cuba]

Cuba informed the United States a long time ago of its willingness to receive flights for deportees

,” Cuban Vice Foreign Minister Carlos Fernández de Cossío said in November.

The deportations will be of "migrants who are considered inadmissible" to the United States, he said.

"The terms, conditions, timing for these flights" have not yet been defined, which will be coordinated within bilateral negotiations for a "safe and orderly" migration, she asserted.

In addition, the Biden Administration is expected to announce a humanitarian program for Cubans, Nicaraguans, and Haitians, similar to the one imposed on Venezuelans in October 2022, which seeks to reduce the irregular migration of people from these countries across the southern border.

Source: telemundo

All news articles on 2023-01-05

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