US Coast Guard crews have intercepted more than 6,000 Cubans since last October, according to the agency, the most in a fiscal year since the 1990s.
“We’ve seen this before. It’s a natural phenomenon. However, seeing the uptick for us is really concerning and the fact that we’re seeing more individuals on not-so-seaworthy vessels, putting a significant amount of those individuals at very dangerous risk for loss of life,” said Walter Slosar, chief patrol agent of the Miami Sector.
For years, Cubans have been fleeing the island, but recent unrest, persecution, and shortages of basic goods have pushed more to leave.
“Individuals have come to us with stories of persecution from the local government for their inability to participate in certain events, for not agreeing with local and communist policy of the island. It’s not just them but also many stories of family members, friends that have been apprehended, detained for minor, non-criminal offenses,” said David Claros, director of…