MIAMI – The U.S. Coast Guard took 64 Cuban migrants on Sunday back to Cuba after finding them at sea on Thursday and Friday off the Florida Keys.
Coast Guard Lt. Paul Puddington released a statement saying the Cuban migrants were in “makeshift” boats without safety equipment, and they were not wearing life jackets.
Puddington had a message to Cubans considering the dangerous voyage: “Please, for your own safety, don’t take to the sea.”
In about nine months, crews have interdicted 3,067 Cubans, according to the U.S. Coast Guard’s report on Sunday. It’s more than all of the Cuban migrants the Coast Guard interdicted from 2017 to 2021.
The Coast Guard released pictures of the four boats full of migrants who risked their lives to cross the Florida Straits. Two of the boats appeared to have been made out of wood and Styrofoam.
On Thursday, the Cutter Pablo Valent’s crew found a group of migrants at about 9 p.m., approximately 25 miles south of Key West. The same crew found another group of migrants that same day at about 11:30 p.m., approximately 30 miles south of Key West.
On Friday, a crew interdicted a group at about 8:15 a.m., approximately 14 miles south of Boot Key, and another group at about 5:30 p.m., approximately 40 miles south of Key West.
On Sunday, federal agents detained nine Cuban migrants after the U.S. Coast Guard found them stranded at the Marquesas Keys, about 20 miles west of Key West, according to Walter N. Slosar, the chief patrol agent in charge of Border Patrol’s Miami sector headquarters.