Sunday, June 26, 2016

Cuban migrants detained after landing on packed Florida beach

Cuban migrants detained after landing on packed Florida beach
Sunday, June 26, 2016, 12:05 AM

Nearly a dozen Cuban migrants landed ashore with a rickety raft in broad
daylight Saturday as beachgoers near Fort Lauderdale, Fla., watched and
cheered on the weathered travelers.

The migrants — nine men and one woman — landed on the sandy shore at
Dania Beach, where local and federal authorities were waiting for them
after the 200 mile journey from the communist country.

"Who knows how long they were out there," said witness Jose Armand.

Armand, who lives near the beach, stumbled upon a mob of people watching
police detain the migrants while taking a walk.

"They looked ragged and disheveled, very sunburned," Armand told the
Daily News.

He joined scores of bystanders — some shouting "Viva Cuba" — who watched
cops handcuff the sand-covered migrants and lead them away from their
landing site.

Inside their motorless boat, Armand saw cooking supplies and makeshift
paddles that helped carry the migrants about 60 miles north of their
typical landings in Key West.

The U.S. Coast Guard encountered the group about four miles offshore
when one of their crew members jumped into the water with a "possible
stab wound to the abdomen," according to the Miami-Herald.

The injured man was among five hospitalized at Broward Health Medical
Center, according to the Sun-Sentinel, citing U.S. Border Patrol agents.

Five migrants were also taken into custody at the Dania Beach Border
Patrol Station, the report said.

Another group of Cuban migrants came ashore 25 miles south in Key
Biscayne hours earlier on Saturday.

Authorites walked several detained several members of boat that landed
ashore in Dania Beach in Florida through a crowd of beachgoers.
Karina Gudiel, her husband and young daughter greeted the five men in
Spanished following their 12-day journey at sea, she wrote on Facebook.

"I couldn't believe what we were witnessing," Gudiel wrote. "Makes me
think of all the people who have left Cuba the same way but never made
it alive. We are blessed my friends."

The migrants are among a recent surge in Cubans making the dangerous
trek to the United States amid President Obama's efforts to restore
diplomatic relations with Cuba.

Since October 2015, the U.S. Coast Guard has encountered more than 4,600
Cubans trying to the enter the country by sea under the so-called
"wet-foot, dry-foot" policy that allows migrants to stay in the United
States if they make it to land. Cubans caught at sea must return to
their native land.

Source: Cuban migrants detained after landing on packed Florida beach -
NY Daily News -

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