The boat with 842 Haitians bound for the United States ends up in Cuba
NEW ONENow you can listen to the articles from Fox News!
A ship carrying more than 800 Haitians trying to reach the United States ended up on the coast of Central Cuba in what appeared to be the largest group ever seen in a growing exodus from crisis-ridden Haiti.
Red Cross officials in Villa Clara province said Wednesday that the 842 Haitians were being housed in a tourist camp. The group arrived on Tuesday at Villa Blanca, about 180 miles east of Havana, and reportedly included 70 children and 97 women.
Haitians said they asked for help with light signals after being abandoned and left adrift by their captain.
“We were on the island of Tortuga for two months awaiting the voyage until last Saturday, when they took us to the boat at five in the morning,” 19-year-old Joyce Paul, who arrived on the boat, told The Associated Press.
In the following days, “15 people jumped into the sea because they couldn’t stand hunger,” says Paolo. “There was a herring for (each) 15 people, and they gave us water.”
Paul was traveling with an uncle, his wife and a child at a cost of $ 4,000 per person. The family said the captain abandoned them early Tuesday on a separate small boat after taking their cell phones. The ship was quoting. With a flashlight they managed to attract people’s attention on the Cuban coast.
While the number of migrants on this single ship seemed unprecedented, the US Coast Guard and other nations reported having intercepted several boats carrying over 100 Haitians in recent months.
It is not unusual for currents and winds to bring Haitians to Cuba, which runs along most of the maritime route between Haiti and the United States. Cuba reports most of the migrants arriving in Haiti.
A failing economy and a spike in gang-related violence and kidnappings in Haiti prompted thousands of Haitians to flee their country last year. Human rights activists in Haiti say those who flee believe they are safer by taking the risk on an overcrowded boat than staying in their country.
US authorities say the number of Haitian migrants detained in and around US jurisdictions in the Caribbean has doubled. Tuesday the United States Coast Guard claimed to have stopped a sailing merchant ship carrying 153 Haitian migrants near the Florida Keys.
Earlier this month, the Coast Guard rescued 36 Haitian migrants and found 11 more dead, all women, after a boat capsized. northwest of Puerto Rico. The rescue came just days after 68 migrants were rescued in the treacherous waters between Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, which shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti.
In April, the US Coast Guard identified more than 130 Haitian migrants aboard a boat near the Bahamas. A month earlier, 140 migrants landed in the Florida Keys.
US Coast Guard crews have banned about 4,500 Haitians since October. Many were trying to land on overloaded ships in the Florida Keys. More than 3,000 of these migrants have been found since mid-March, signaling that the pace has increased in the spring.
Meanwhile, the Cuban government reported that a group of 292 Haitians had reached the province of Ciego de Avila in February.
Massimo Luz, reporter for the Telecubanacan broadcasterhe said that “adverse navigation conditions” brought the last group of Haitians to Cuba, where “they sought the help of the border guard troops”.
National news site Cubadebate showed images of a gray ship full of people and rescuers carrying some Haitians for treatment.
Miguel Ángel Fernández, head of the Red Cross in Villa Clara province, said the 842 Haitians received medical treatment and first aid.
“They are in quarantine,” Fernández told AP, indicating they would be staying there for three or five days.
Arletys Ramos, a director of municipal epidemiology, said Haitians are being monitored for diseases such as COVID-19, malaria and cholera, although no one in the group was seriously ill.