Thursday, January 19, 2006

The rafts only go one way - OUT OF CUBA

As Val at Babalú penned, the rafts only go one way - out of Cuba. With all the commotion during early January with the 15 balseros who had the misfortune to land on a piling of the 7-Mile-Bridge that was not connected to the mainland being repatriated, and the hunger strike of Ramón Sanchez to get the White House to at least discuss the pies mojados/pies secos policy, sometimes we overlook the fact that they keep leaving.

Today there are two stories of balseros , one of 12 that were rescued in Mexican waters (here and here), and the other about six that left Antigua with a smuggler who was paid $4K per each person on the boat (here). The smuggler later abandoned them to their fate until they were rescued by St. Marteen authorities and denied entry back into Antigua. More than likely they will be repatriated too.

Based on comments on previous balseros posts I have to ask the question: Where did the six balseros each get the $4,000 to have the smuggler boat them to Puerto Rico? (which is US Territory so it would qualify them as pies secos). Family in the US? Work? Savings? Where can a Cuban in Cuba get that kind of money? In all fairness I also have to ask, who is the hijo de puta that is charging these people so much money for their freedom? How can these people and the infamous coyotes mexicanos, and other smugglers exist?