08 May 2024, 09:27

Ailing Cuban migrants rescued after weeks at sea

CIUDAD VICTORIA, Mexico, May 8, 2024 (BSS/AFP) - Four emaciated and
dehydrated migrants were rescued by Mexican fishermen more than a month after
leaving Cuba on a flimsy raft with several others who died at sea,
authorities said.

Two of the survivors remained hospitalized Tuesday in Mexico's northeastern
state of Tamaulipas due to what immigration authorities called "severe

According to testimonies given to Mexican officials and a Cuban diplomat, who
asked not to be named, the migrants had left the island on April 1 in the
hope of reaching the US state of Florida.

But the rudder of the raft broke and they were left adrift.

A local police report suggested that the migrants might have even spent
around two months at sea.

It quoted one of the survivors as saying that they had left Cuba on March 5.

Images broadcast by local media showed the four malnourished men -- two of
them lying on the ground -- along with a raft made of pieces of wood, metal
cans and a plastic sheet used as a sail.

They were found by fishermen who were on their way to work in the Gulf of
Mexico, received first aid from Mexican emergency services and were rushed to

Four other migrants died during the journey, according to the survivors, but
Mexican authorities have not been able to corroborate that information.

The police report identifies the survivors as Mario Sergio Marquez Ventura,
30, Yuriesky Romero Hernandez, 33, and Rogelio Loasis Fuentes Fernando, 50.

The fourth migrant could not provide his name due to his critical condition.

They have expressed a wish to stay in Mexico, according to immigration

Nearly five percent of the Cuban population has fled to the United States in
the past two years, the biggest wave of emigration since Fidel Castro's

The communist island is in the grips of its worst economic crisis in decades,
with sky-high inflation and shortages of fuel, medicine and basic foodstuffs
-- and US sanctions -- aggravating an already dire situation.

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