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Declaration of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cuba: Cuba Calls for the prevention of tragic incidents as a result of irregular migration

On March 2, 2021, there was an illegal departure from Cuba through the northern coast of the province of Villa Clara, which was organized from the US territory using a go-fast boat for a human smuggling operation. The group of persons involved in such operation, all them Cuban nationals, which included women and children, were taken by the human smugglers to the inhospitable and inhabited Cay Sal Bank in the Bahamas. The Cuban Border Guard reported in real time the occurrence of this event to the United States Coast Guard.

Later on, migrants were picked up from that same cay by a second go-fast boat that also came from the United States and had been registered in the state of Florida, with the purpose of introducing them into US territory.  On March 4, at a distance of 3 nautical miles from Cay Sal Bank in the Bahamas, the boat capsized and the persons remained stranded at sea for more than 14 hours. The shipwrecked persons were rescued by a vessel from the Royal Bahamas Defense Force (12 persons and 1 corpse).  According to preliminary information provided by the Bahamian authorities, several persons, among them women and two children, are presumed missing.

Upon knowing about this serious incident, the Border Guard units dispatched a boat, with the support of  an aircraft of the  Revolutionary Air Force to engage in a search operation and they spotted the go-fast boat, registered  in the state of Florida, which had drifted towards Cuban territorial waters.

As the hydro-meteorological conditions improve, the Cuban authorities will continue  the maritime and air searching operations with  vessels and aircraft along the northern coast of the provinces of Matanzas and Villa Clara, as well as the support of private institutions and boats.

The Cuban authorities have managed to determine that an individual who was returned to Cuba by the US Coast Guard Service on March 6 as an alleged migrant is one of the boatmen involved in this human smuggling operation and is currently subject to a legal process in Cuba. 

Investigations will continue until this unfortunate incident is fully clarified. 

As our people is aware of, one of the incentives to irregular migration is the suspended processing and granting of immigrant and non-immigrant visas by the US Consulate in Havana and the transfer of these proceedings to  third countries; as well as the enforcement of the Cuban Adjustment Act of 1966.

The United States has not honored either its commitment to guarantee legal migration for a minimum of 20 000 Cubans to that country every year.

The Cuban government will continue to work to prevent  the irregular, unsafe and disorderly migration, to prevent risky departures that endanger the life of human beings and struggle against the acts of violence associated to this phenomenon and other related crimes, such as trafficking in persons and alien smuggling.

Cuba calls for the adoption of  every measure to prevent the tragic consequences of irregular migration; ratifies its commitment to the Joint Declaration signed by Cuba and the United States on January 12, 2017 on migration and reaffirms that it has strictly honored its obligations by virtue of said agreement.

Havana, March 11, 2021.

 

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