Cubans continue to flee their island in record numbers while hordes of tourists pour in to enjoy themselves and gawk at the natives.
Meanwhile, some Latin American nations are trying to stem the flow, in various ways.
Here are two news stories on the growing exodus.
From The Yucatan Times:
Latest rescue brings Cuban rafter total to more than 150 in Yucatan waters
In the latest incident of Cuban rafters in Yucatan waters, on Tuesday Nov. 24 a Mexican Navy vessel came to the aid of six rafters who had been rescued by a fishing vessel about 492 kilometers (266 nautical miles) northwest of ProgresoLatest rescue brings Cuban rafter total to more than 150 in Yucatan waters.
The six Cubans were adrift when they were spotted and rescued by the crew of the fishing boat “Robalo VIII”, which immediately notified the federal authorities.
After providing first aid and verifying that they were in good health, the Navy transferred the rafters to the remote terminal of the Port of Progreso. The Cubans were then sent to the Merida facilities of the National Institute of Migration.
Authorities have reported the arrival in Yucatan of more than 150 Cuban rafters in 2014 and so far in 2015, in what is considered the largest exodus from the island in the past decade. Most are seeking to reach the United States, using Mexico as a stopover on their journey.
However, unlike the Cubans who have in past months arrived to Mexico, the six recent arrivals could never reach the United States due to the Mexico-Cuba repatriation agreement signed Nov. 7 in Merida by President Enrique Peña Nieto and Cuban President Raul Castro. Due to the agreement, the six Cubans would be sent back to the island.
Continue reading HERE.
Closing the Spigot: Ecuador imposes new visa requirements in attempt to stop flood tide of Cuban migrants
In what appears to be another example of Cuban backchanneling, Ecuador on Thursday announced it will start requiring visas for all Cubans who have been using the South American country as a springboard to emigrate to the United States. The new visa requirements are expected to take effect by the end of next week.
Ecuador’s announcement comes on the heels of Nicaragua’s decision to close its border to northbound Cubans. The move has created a humanitarian and political crisis on Costa Rica’s northern border, where more than 3,000 Cubans are stuck in migratory limbo. And thousands more are on their way.
Since Havana and Washington announced a thawing of diplomatic relations last December, a flood tide of Cubans has left the island in an desperate attempt to make it to U.S. soil before improving ties bring an end to the Cuban Adjustment Act. Most of the Cubans emigrating to the U.S.come by land via Ecuador, whose visa-free immigration policy made it one of the only countries in the hemisphere that allowed Cubans to enter with no questions asked.
As a result, tens of thousands of Cubans saved their remittances and sold their homes to buy a roundtrip ticket to Ecuador to start the long journey to “La Yuma,” as Cubans call the United States.
Continue reading HERE