Cubans "rescued" on the high seas are hardly rescued. They are brought aboard cruise ships only long enough to be transferred onto Coast Guard cutters to be taken back to Cuba.

According to WPTV:  

"Some were saying they should be sent back. Other people were sad. Some women were crying because they realized how sad it must be," Almashy said.

Almashy says a photo she snapped of the empty boat will stay with her forever.

"When I looked at that, it was a haunting image of people trying for the American Dream. It was very symbolic of the hopes and the risks."


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  • Tim

    Even though we can’t have open access by foreigners, it is still sad for the individuals. Cruise lines in this case are just following the law… imagine that. The closest “dry foot” landing spot for Cuban refugees is Ft Jefferson/Dry Tortugas. When the refugees come ashore, the park service will store their “vessels” until they can be transported to Key West. Looking at these sometimes makeshift boats and their contents and imagining a large number of people in them attempting a dangerous crossing is very moving.

  • I agree it’s quite sad.

  • John Nelson

    Sad as it is, cruise lines are among the few that actually stop and pick up these refugees. other ships just sail past without stopping. the reason for this is that merchant ships in the are are mostly heading to ports outside US and they have major difficulties landing undocumented refugees in many countries and then they are stuck with them on the ship for months.
    US law actually require the ships with destination in US to report all refugees and undocumented persons in addition to regular crew and passengers and USCG then pick up all the refugees.
    By returning the refugees to Cuba, the hope is that nobody will take the risk in small crafts on the open sea. At night they can not be seen by ships unless they have some kind of light to signal with and they risk being run over. Nobody knows how many refugees have perished in the Straits of Florida over the years.

  • danny bowen

    i personally work for the Coast Guard in miami and have to say thousands have perished in the straits of florida. it is one story that is seldom covered by the media, as moving and insane as it is. the truth is for every successful passage a migrant makes, word gets back to their homeland and one will die trying to recreate that successful landing. if only people would embrace that no dictatorship, lack of jobs, or freedoms is worth their lives. these chugs have 40 passengers on board, no life jackets, no water, no food. if the engine fails, they have no radio to call for help, if the wind stops, they have no propulsion and will die of dehydration. many times the smuggler will kick everyone off a few miles from shore to avoid capture and many of them will drown. men, pregnant women, children, elderly… the sea does not discriminate. if the U.S. lifted the trade embargo and sanctions on Cuba, these refugees would have a much easier life.