HAVANA, CUBA- The United States Coast Guard recently reported that 119 Cuban migrants were returned to Cuba in dozens of operations conducted over three days, as an increasing number of Cuban migrants attempted to enter the U.S. through its waters.
“The migrants were swept up in the south Florida straits from the Bahamas to the Florida Keys after their boats were found adrift offshore,” said the Coast Guard in a statement.
Furthermore, the statement stated, “in each case, the Coast Guard helped in securing the U.S. border and preventing these dangerous sea excursions from ending in tragedy.”
The Cuban media reported that this repatriation was the largest in the last four years.
The footage released by Cuba’s northern shore shows masked health personnel wearing white clothes receiving migrants that had been transported via boat by U.S. authorities.
Cuba’s economy has been ravaged by U.S. sanctions and an outbreak of COVID-19 that has slowed important international tourism to the Caribbean island.
Several Cubans have been killed crossing between Cuba and the United States during the past several decades , which has often been exacerbated by strong ocean currents, relentless sun, and wind, as well as shoddy vessels.
As of mid-March, there were 586 Cuban migrants on their way to the U.S. border, up significantly from the 838 Cubans who returned in 2021.
In October 2020 and May 2021, Cubans attempting to enter the United States overland reached their highest level according to U.S. immigration statistics.
As of late, Cuban officials have blamed the U.S. for the increase in migration, saying policies such as the embargo during the Cold War encourage Cubans to flee the island at their peril.