15 Cuban rafters make landfall in Florida Keys

Miami, Dec 26 (EFE).- About 15 Cuban rafters arrived in the Florida Keys, a string-like archipelago arching off the southern tip of Florida and made up of some 1,700 islands, amid a rising wave of illegal migrants that has not slacked off despite the Christmas holidays and the colder weather, even in South Florida, due to Winter Storm Elliott.

Local media on Monday reported the arrival of the group of Cubans, who made landfall near Key Colony Beach after crossing the Florida Strait in a rickety boat.

The head of the US Border Patrol in the Miami sector, Walter Slosar, said on Twitter that the migrants arrived on Christmas Day and had set sail from Cuba’s Matanzas region, on the northwest coast of the communist island.

The Coast Guard did not provide any details about the condition of the rafters.

Almost two hundred Cubans arrived in southeastern Florida on Wednesday and Thursday last week.

Coast Guard teams have been searching since last Wednesday for two people after a boat overturned on Tuesday some 40 miles (64 km) south of Boot Key.

The Coast Guard rescued 19 people from the water after their boat overturned, four of whom were transferred to the federal emergency medical services.

According to information provided by the Coast Guard, 21 people – possibly of Cuban nationality – were traveling on the boat that overturned.

Since Oct. 1, 2022, Coast Guard vessels have intercepted 3,724 Cuban migrants as they were trying to reach the southern US coast, that is to say, more than 50 percent of the 6,182 migrants apprehended during all of the last full fiscal year, which ended on Sept. 30.

EFE –/bp

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