16 Cuban Refugees Discovered in Key West Waters, Promptly Returned to Cuba

16 Cuban Refugees Discovered in Key West Waters, Promptly Returned to Cuba

The newest wave of Cuban refugees fleeing the Castro regime were discovered, then returned, off of Key West

Liv Caputo
Liv Caputo
April 10, 2024

KEY WEST, FL—Florida Fish and Wildlife intercepted and repatriated 16 Cuban refugees attempting to reach the U.S. three miles south of Fort Zachary Taylor in Key West.

The 16 potential immigrants came from Cuba, which is just 90 miles south of the Southernmost Point of the continental United States. They were aboard a chug—a type of refugee boat named for its "chug-chug" sound—when authorities discovered them.

Florida Fish and Wildlife (FWC) and Monroe County officers responded to reports from authorities working with Operation Vigilant Sentry, a 2004 Homeland Security program designed to stop illegal immigration at sea.

The officers took the migrants to a Coast Guard vessel, which brought the refugees back to Cuba.

"In response to heightened concerns regarding illegal immigration in South Florida and the Florida Keys, FWC officers have intensified their vigilance and surveillance efforts,” the FWC said. “Under Gov. Ron DeSantis’ directive, 23 additional officers and eight more seacrafts have been deployed to reinforce the existing presence in the region.”

Cubans have been fleeing the island and seeking refuge in the United States in spiking numbers as of late, with over 6,000 Cubans interdicted at sea from October 2021 through September 2022, and nearly 4,000 more discovered between October 2022 and January 2023.

The U.S. Border Patrol apprehended over 203,000 Cubans between January and September 2022—a staggering increase over the 33,000 Cubans intercepted during the same period of 2021.

The reason for the dramatic numbers? Dictator Raul Castro, younger brother to the infamous—and deceased— Fidel Castro.

Under the regime, Cuban residents are experiencing a shortage in food and medicine, and an economic crisis leaves citizens receiving just $16-$23 a month in income.

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Liv Caputo

Liv Caputo

Livia Caputo is a senior at Florida State University, working on a major in Criminology, and a triple minor in Psychology, Communications, and German. She has been working on a journalism career for the past year, and hopes to become a successful reporter after graduation. Her work has been cited in Fox News, the New York Post, and the Daily Mail

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