Thursday, August 18, 2016

Six Cuban Boat People Still Missing In The Gulf Of Mexico

Six Cuban Boat People Still Missing In The Gulf Of Mexico / 14ymedio,
Mario Penton

14ymedio, Mario Penton, Miami, 17 August 2016 — Thirteen men were
determined to leave the misery, despair and weariness of lives filled
with official propaganda. For months they crafted a boat on the cost of
the Isle of Youth, off Cuba's southern coast. In absolute secrecy to
avoid being betrayed, they prepared a catamaran and stocked it with food
and water. They wanted to get to Central America or Mexico, to continue
their journey overland to the United States, an ever more frequented
route, but a month and a half later they are still missing at sea.

Noyri Muñoz, a Cuban, 47, who is the sister of one of the rafters,
explains that, of the 13, only seven have returned to Cuba, deported
from Mexico a month ago. On returning to their own country, they do not
want to talk to the press nor with the families of the missing. Their
silence is more eloquent. Of then other six, there is no news. "The sea
is so vast, perhaps it swallowed them," she commented from Spain, where
she lives.

The weeks pass and the fear grows that the worst has happened. "They
left at dawn. They were from different towns on the Isle of Youth. They
bought a good quality engine and set sail for Mexico," explained Muñoz,
so said that for 15 days they "didn't see land anywhere" and decided to
separate into two groups to increase their chances of being found.

When the engine gave out they continued to paddle and use the sail they
carried, but they didn't seem to make much headway, so they decided to
separate, according to the version of one of the young boys who was on
the boat," added the sister.

"Three days after we separated a boat found us," explained one of the
rafters in Mexico to a family member of the missing. According to this
testimony, half of the group left with eight inner tubes, in search of
better luck. They divided the biscuits and the water. Since then, they
don't know anything more about them.

The same rafter explained in Mexico that at least four boats passed them
and didn't help them. The drifting boaters were finally rescued by the
supply vessel MV Fugro Vasilis, 130 miles from Arrecife Alacranes, north
of the Yucatan Peninsula.

"My brother was an economist for a state enterprise. He was a fighter,
intelligent, a man always looking for solutions to problems. He was very
creative. We are desperate, because we don't have any information. We
have tried to communicate with the Navy and the Mexican Army and US but
without success," says Muñoz.

The lives of the rafters could have been seriously threatened by
Hurricane Earl in early August in the Western Caribbean. The number of
rafters has significantly increased this year. According to the United
States Coast Guard, from 1 October 2015 to 15 July 2014, 5,241 Cuban
rafters have tried to reach the coast of the United States.

The names of the missing are José Armando Muñoz López, Luis Velásquez
Osorio, Rafael Rives Rives, Yoendry Rives del Campo, Amauri Pupo Pupo
and Juan Antonio Pupo Pupo.

Source: Six Cuban Boat People Still Missing In The Gulf Of Mexico /
14ymedio, Mario Penton – Translating Cuba -
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