Posted on Thursday, 06.27.13
Two groups of Cuban balseros arrive in Honduras and Cayman Islands
BY JUAN O. TAMAYO
More than 50 Cuban boatpeople were reported to have landed in Honduras
and the Cayman Islands earlier this week in another possible sign that
increasing number of Cubans are leaving the island.
Honduran authorities detained 32 Cubans on Tuesday aboard a makeshift
boat spotted near the island of Roatan, off the Central American
country's Caribbean coast, according to the Honduran internet
publication Proceso Digital.
The four women and 28 men ranged in age from 23 to 40, the publication
added. Two were suffering from dehydration after 10 days at sea.
Francisco Román Rosales was quoted as saying that the group left the
island June 16 in search of better jobs. "I am a shoemaker and I earned
about $12 a month. We came because of economic conditions," he declared.
"From Honduras we will move on to another place," another Cuban
identified in news reports as Everseas Rodriguez told HRN Radio in
Honduras. The vast majority of Cuban migrants who reach Honduras
continue by land to the United States.
Another 30 Cuban boatpeople landed June 13 on Guanaja Island east of Roatan.
Cuban boatpeople who wind up in Honduras and the Cayman Islands usually
launch from the southeastern end of the communist-ruled island, in hopes
that the prevailing winds and currents carry them westward.
CayCompass.Com, a news service in the Cayman Islands, a British
territory 125 miles off southeastern Cuba, reported that a makeshift
boat carrying about 20 Cubans had docked Tuesday at a dive shop in
George Town Harbor.
The wooden vessel apparently had experienced mechanical difficulties and
one of the Cubans was taken to a hospital, witnesses told the news
service. Police on patrol boats and at the dock were monitoring the Cubans.
Under a 1999 agreement with Havana, Cayman authorities and residents
cannot assist the boatpeople. Boats that are safe can sail on, but
unsafe vessels are forced to dock and those aboard are detained. They
can apply for political asylum but virtually all are rejected and flown
back to Cuba.
The number of Cubans spotted in Cayman territorial waters appears to be
experiencing an uptick in recent months, although it is not clear why
that might be so.
Some experts say illegal departures from Cuba always rise in the summer
months, when the seas tend to be calmer. Others say that the island's
economy is getting worse, despite the reforms enacted by ruler Raúl Castro.
Still others say that all the reports on U.S. efforts at immigration
reform sparked a wave of rumors and fears that Washington might soon
cancel some of the many benefits that only Cuban arrivals now receive.
Source: "Two groups of Cuban balseros arrive in Honduras and Cayman
Islands - Cuba - MiamiHerald.com" -