US Coast Guard returns 103 Cuban migrants home

The U.S Coast Guard repatriated 103 Cuban migrants, including one migrant with a self-inflicted gunshot wound, to Bahia de Cabañas, Cuba, from June 25 – 27.

The Coast Guard Cutter Charles David Jr. crew repatriated 58 Cuban migrants Saturday, and 45 more Cuban migrants Monday.

The U.S. Coast Guard said the repatriations were a result of 10 separate migrant interdictions at sea since June 17, in the south Florida Straits. In one case the Coast Guard successfully rescued, treated and repatriated a migrant with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the shoulder.

“Safety of life at sea continues to be the Coast Guard’s primary concern,” said Capt. Mark Gordon, chief of enforcement for the Coast Guard 7th District. “The increase in extreme acts we have seen, such as self-inflicted gun-shot wounds, increases the danger to both the migrants and our Coast Guard crews. Illegal migrants, aboard overloaded and unseaworthy vessels, are putting their lives at severe risk of injury and death. The Coast Guard along with our partner agencies will continue to patrol vigilantly in order to rescue and repatriate undocumented migrants who take to the sea.”

Since Oct. 1, at least 4,807 Cubans have attempted to illegally migrate to the U.S. via the maritime environment compared to 4,473 in fiscal year 2015, the Coast Guard said. These statistics represent the total number of at-sea interdictions, landings and disruptions in the Florida Straits, the Caribbean and Atlantic.

The Coast Guard Cutter Charles David Jr. is a 154-foot fast response cutter homeported in Key West, Florida.