A group of 33 Cuban refugees has been rescued in Honduras, after a two-week voyage on a rickety raft, according to Sky News and other media outlets. The migrants arrived on Tuesday in the Baja Mar region of Cortes state, some 300 kilometres north of the capital city Tegucigalpa. The Cubans, who were suffering from dehydration, were discovered adrift by a Honduran fishermen, who provided them with food and coconut water.
‘We left our country because of the economic problems there. Wages are low and prices are high,’ said one of the migrants who was quoted in local media. ‘We have been living a nightmare, and now we have reached our goal, which was to get to Honduras.’
According to Sky News (see link below), about 700 people arrived in Honduras from Cuba last year, most of them overland from Nicaragua, and were planning to travel on to the United States, immigration officials said.
As Peter Polack (author of The Last Hot Battle of the Cold War: South Africa vs. Cuba in the Angolan Civil War) indicates, it seems very possible that these refugees may be the group of 34 who left on June 29 from Cayman Islands; they were sent on their way after replenishing water supplies.
The article titled “Second boatload of Cuban migrants in 48 hours ordered off Caymans” (Reuters, 30 June 2014) indicates that local law enforcement in Cayman allowed the migrants to take on drinking water, but no food, before ordering the group to depart immediately or be taken into custody and repatriated to Cuba. Apparently, they were mostly from the cities of Bayamo and Manzanillo in eastern Cuba, and were headed for the coast of Central America.
The article also states that Cubans seeking to flee the communist-run island are frequently headed for Honduras, from where migrants make the long journey overland to reach the U.S. border with Mexico. Under the U.S. so-called “wet foot, dry foot policy,” Cuban migrants who make it onto United States soil are allowed to remain while those intercepted at sea are turned back.
For original articles, see http://www.skynews.com.au/news/world/sthamerica/2014/07/10/cuban-refugees-rescued-in-honduras.html and http://uk.reuters.com/article/2014/06/30/uk-cayman-cuba-boat-idUKKBN0F501320140630
[The photo above is from a previous boatload that was turned away from the Cayman Islands; see http://babalublog.com/2014/06/28/cayman-islands-kicks-cuban-refusgees-out-orders-them-out-to-sea/]