News and Facts about Cuba

Cuban Rafters Dressed In Police Uniforms Reach The Coasts Of Florida

Cuban Dressed In Uniforms Reach The Coasts Of Florida /
14ymedio, Mario Penton
Posted on April 6, 2016

A video posted Monday on the social network Facebook shows the arrival
of 26 Cubans to the Florida Keys, aboard a rustic raft. The recording,
published by the user Jose Carrera, reflects the moment when the raft
touches land with the immigrants on board, among them two men
dressed in the uniforms of Cuba’s National Revolutionary Police (PNR).

Hector Joel Carrera, one of the rafters who appears in the video,
commented to this newspaper by phone that the group left from Guanabo,
on the coast north of Havana, at midnight last Saturday. There were 25
men and one woman on the boat, which was at sea for more than 30 hours,
he said. During the crossing they tried to avoid the Cuban and United
States Coast Guards, and so they used the engines only at night.

“The problem is that in Cuba building a boat is a crime, if you are
caught taking it the sea you lose everything. That happened to us twice
on land,” Carrera explained to 14ymedio, The rafter said that this was
the group’s fourth attempt to get to the coast of the United States. On
a previous occasion, the raft was intercepted by the US Coast Guard
after traveling 75 miles from the island.

With regards to the two supposed police officers in a group of rafters,
Carrera explained that the uniformed officers collaborated along with
the rest of the migrants on the construction of the craft. One of the
policemen was nicknamed “The Captain,” for his rank within the PNR, the
rafter explained, and he added that everyone knows very well “the system
in Cuba and what is happening, even the police themselves.”

This newspaper has not been able to contact any of the men in uniform.

Carrera says his main motivation to jump into the sea and reach US
territory was “economic.” “In Cuba I was a rastero (truck driver), I
didn’t live badly, however it wasn’t enough to support my family, to buy
shoes for my children,” he adds. Remaining on the island are his four
children and his wife.

“Over there, even though I work I can’t buy necessities for the family,
because the work is not valued. Here, on the other hand, things are
thrown away: clothes, shoes, backpacks,” he said with enthusiasm.

According to the rafter, who is currently living in Tampa with relatives
who have taken him in, his main goal is “to learn English to be able to
work hard,” and financially help the relatives he left behind.

The fear that the Cuban Adjustment Act will be repealed with the process
of the reestablishment of relations between the United States and Cuba,
has ignited the flow of migrants from the island. According to the Coast
Guard, so far this fiscal year, which began 1 October 2015, 2,562 Cubans
have been intercepted in the Florida Straits, including 269 in February.

Source: Cuban Rafters Dressed In Police Uniforms Reach The Coasts Of
Florida / 14ymedio, Mario Penton | Translating Cuba –

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