HAVANA (HPD) — Five people died when a speedboat from the United States that violated Cuban territorial waters and was apparently carrying out an migrant smuggling operation sank off the north coast of the Caribbean nation, authorities on the island reported. .
The boat collided with a ship of the Cuban Border Guard Troops in Bahía Honda, Artemisa province, the Ministry of the Interior (Minint) said on Saturday through a statement published by the official Cubadebate website. The exact date of the collision was not specified.
The incident is recorded in the midst of a migratory record from Cuba and other countries to the United States, especially along the northern border of Mexico, where people arrive after beginning dangerous journeys that begin in Nicaragua — a country that does not require a visa for nationals. from the island_, but also from the Caribbean through the Straits of Florida.
According to the Minint note “the offending boat turned” when it collided with one of the units of the Border Guard Troops when the uniformed officers proceeded to identify it in territorial waters.
Other ships joined the search for the shipwrecked and in the tasks 18 people were rescued alive and five bodies were recovered – one man, three women and one minor.
“The competent Cuban authorities carry out the pertinent investigative actions for the total clarification of this painful fact,” the statement added.
In their official note, the authorities of the Caribbean nation blamed the United States government for promoting this illegal exit and others of its kind “by allowing irregular migrants to remain in their territory,” upholding the Cuban Adjustment Law, a rule of the 1960s that grants benefits to islanders who arrive in the neighboring country, granting them refugee status.
“The US government does not contribute to guaranteeing safe, orderly and regular emigration, while trying to create situations of social destabilization,” the Minint stressed in the statement. Bilateral relations are tense at this time, although in the middle of the year there was an issue of migration.
Cuba is going through a harsh economic crisis in which the sanctions of the United States tightened during the government of then President Donald Trump and the consequences of the paralysis due to the coronavirus pandemic, which affected key sectors such as tourism, are mixed.
The island experiences times of food, medicine and fuel shortages, as well as long blackouts.
US border authorities reported that they had more than 220,000 encounters with Cubans in fiscal year 2022 — which runs from October 2021 to last September. The United States Coast Guard indicated that in that same period it intercepted 6,182 migrants advancing by sea. Both figures are records.
For its part, the United States Embassy on the island sent its condolences to the relatives of the deceased through its Twitter account. He indicated that he is working to expand legal channels and warned about the fatal risks of taking these irregular paths.