Thirteen Cubans Die Trying to Reach USA

en el pueblo hay muchos camilo
“There are many Camilo Cienfuegos’s in the Cuban people. Illustration by Carlos.

HAVANA TIMES – While not the magnitude of migration and shipwrecks from Africa and the Middle East to Europe, the tragedy of thousands of Cubans dying at sea over decades continues today to bring mourning to families across the island.

Yesterday, the US Coast Guard says it has stopped searching for the 15 people (13 Cubans a Colombian and a Dominican) who did not achieve their goal of reaching the US territory.

The migrants were on the Caribbean island of St. Martin (more than 700 miles from Cuba), probably arriving by air. Their goal was to reach the US Virgin Islands as an alternative of trying to travel directly to the United States from Cuba, Mexico or Central America.

If successful they could enjoy US laws that benefit only Cubans, putting them on a fast track to permanent residence under the Cuban Adjustment Act.

Many Cubans take to the seas in rickety boats, rafts or inner tubes to reach the United States after that country denied them a visa to travel safely by air. Others, by their lack of resources, have no alternative.

14 thoughts on “Thirteen Cubans Die Trying to Reach USA

  • Every healthy, educated Cuban perishing at sea on his way to picking up his Greencard in the industrialized rich Empire is a tragedy. A drowned illiterate Dominican balsero, a malnourished Mexican dying of thirst in the desert, a Honduran gang rape victim, shot by her coyote for nonpayment ? Nah, not so much.. After all, they weren’t fleeing Communist tyranny.

  • Your comment is disjointed and unrelated to the thread. I don’t see the point in fixating on events which took place before I was born. The Bay of Pigs and the other issues have nothing to do with the struggle to survive Cubans are facing today.

  • A great comment, Circles.

  • I’ve got news for you Rich, Batista left Cuba on January 1, 1959 and has been dead a long time.
    Have you read my chapter on the US? Do you think it a balanced analysis?
    The judgement of a man is whether he endeavors to support the poor and oppressed or chooses to lean on the rich.

  • CErmle, Why are you lying about other readers you don’t even know. If you haven’t been to Cuba, speak for yourself and leave others to tell of their experiences.

  • As Ron Reagan used to say, “There you go again.” Your facts (?) and information is tainted. No wonder your handlers are getting pissed with you. You haven’t been near Cuba for years and years, and you know it.

  • Moses, you “fail to understand” or conveniently ignore the embargo, the Bay of Pigs, the fate of Cubana Flight 455, and U. S. laws related to Cuba that shame the U. S. democracy even more than the U. S. teaming with the Mafia in 1952 to support the Batista dictatorship. Trying to justify “Wet Foot/Dry Foot” and other Batistiano-directed aspects of America’s Cuban policy since 1959 is a joke but, it seems, only the Batistianos and the Mafiosi are laughing. Can you name a single democracy-lover that is laughing about it? And please don’t answer “Carlyle MacDuff.”

  • If you were familiar with the records of the meetings of the Executive of the PCC, then you would know that I am correct and that you as usual are displaying ignorance.

    You should pay more attention to those who know Cuba and you should accept the offer that Eden Wong kindly made, to introduce you to Cuba. To constantly display your ignorance brings no credit to you and is both tedious and boring for others.

    After all Conrad, Eden’s offer would enable you to meet those 124 fellow “well established” Mennonites who live in Cuba.

  • Once again you are making statements that cannot be substantiated. Your imagination has run away with you.

  • The argument that the Cuban Adjustment Act is to blame for the high number of Cubans leaving the island fails on the fact that thousands of Cubans leave for Spain, Latin America, Canada, UK, France or just about anywhere else that can get to. If it was just the CAA which draws them, they wouldn’t bother to run away to Spain.

    Aslo important to note, is the fact the number of Cubans fleeing the island has exploded ever since Obama & Raul announced their normalization agreement.

  • Bob, you either fail to understand or choose to ignore the fact that in a totalitarian regime like Cuba, the Castros politics drive the economic realities Cubans are facing and from which they choose to flee. Yes, Cubans are taking ridiculous risks to escape Castro tyranny largely for economic reasons. But it is precisely because of the Castro-style socialist system that these oppressive economic conditions exist. Blaming the US immigration policy for these 13 tragic deaths and for the tens of thousands of other Cubans lost at sea over the years is like blaming the police for the divorce of a married couple after years of the husband who beats his wife and when she finally has had enough, she calls the police to have him arrested. If the Castros did not create the conditions that inspire escape, no US policy would draw these immigrants to such dangerous extremes.

  • When you live in a country where the military dictatorship controls every aspect of the economy, then economic reasons are political reasons. That is the reality of Cuba.

    Incidentally, from time to time, the US has applied similar immigration rules to people from other countries. Cuba just happens to be the longest running example.

  • Sadly I must lay blame for these tragic fatalities and others at the hands of our own government, the US, who gives Cubans special immigration status that does not apply to any other country. The Cuban Adjustment Act, better know as “wet foot, dry foot” allows any Cuban reaching the US to claim residency and not be deported regardless of circumstances.

    While the Cuban Adjustment Act is of little import to the majority of US citizens, no one who has a connection to Cuba favors ending it. The old hard line anti-Castro forces in Miami say we need to keep it as Cubans are fleeing the worst situation in the world, worse than Syria, Sudan, or Guatemala. The new generation of US citizens of Cuban descent say we need to keep it simply because it gives their relatives and friends special treatment that no other immigrant receives. So elimination of the CAA becomes a political lose / lose situation.

    Cubans want to come to the US for economic opportunities just like most other immigrants. I know a number of Cubans who now live in the US as well as some in Cuba who would like to come. Economics, not politics, is everyone’s reason. Sadly, the US cannot accommodate the world’s economic refugees.

  • Carlos has drawn an emotive cartoon in memory of those like Camilo Cienfuegos who died in the ocean for protesting communism. When Raul Castro heard of Camilo’s support for Huber Matos, he said to his brother Fidel: “We have to kill him.” The subsequent disappearance of Camilo in October 1959 when Minister of Defence, meant that his deputy became the new Minister – Raul Castro.

    There will never be a complete record of those Cubans, most of them born during the period of the Castro regime, who have died when fleeing their homeland. They can be added to those executed when tallying the death list to lay at the tombs of Fidel and Raul for whom there cannot be absolution.

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