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Sunday, October 02, 2016

Two Miami men charged with organizing deadly 2008 voyage from Cuba

Two Miami men charged with organizing deadly 2008 voyage from Cuba
BY ALFONSO CHARDY
achardy@elnuevoherald.com

In June 2008, an overloaded boat with Cuban migrants capsized and two
people lost their lives — an 11-year-old boy and a young woman.

The official Cuban version of the event was that migrant smugglers
deliberately sank the migrant boat to distract attention of Cuban border
guards who were chasing the smugglers. But dissident sources said at the
time that the migrant boat had been deliberately rammed by a Cuban
government vessel.

The smugglers ultimately escaped to the United States in a fast boat.
Now, eight years later, two Miami Cubans — José Rafael Mena Núñez and
Yosvany Pérez Roche — have been arrested and charged with organizing the
fateful 2008 voyage.

Both now face trial in Miami federal court, and if found guilty they
could be sentenced to a maximum penalty of life in prison. Mena Núñez
was arrested Sept. 16 while Pérez Roche was picked up four days later.

Trial has been tentatively scheduled for mid-November.

THE ILLEGAL SEA VOYAGE RESULTED IN THE DEATHS OF TWO CUBAN MIGRANTS, AN
11-YEAR-OLD BOY AND A YOUNG WOMAN.

The case came to light in federal court when a grand jury on Sept. 9
handed down an indictment against Mena Núñez, 50, and Pérez Roche, 45,
accusing them of inducing foreign nationals to enter and reside in the
United States illegally and that such an action resulted in the deaths
of two migrants.

The indictment identified the dead only by their initials: J.L.N.S. and
Y.R.R.

But when the tragedy occurred, the Cuban newspaper Granma identified the
victims by name.

They were 11-year-old Jorge Luis Núñez Sánchez, whose initials are
J.L.N.S., and Yudersi Rosabal Rodríguez, whose initials are Y.R.R.

The episode occurred on June 17, 2008, when the smugglers tried to elude
capture by Cuban authorities who pursued them in a boat.

According to the article at the time, the smugglers deliberately
overturned the flimsy migrant boat that carried 20 Cuban migrants headed
for the United States. The smugglers escaped in a fast boat waiting
nearby, according to Granma, the newspaper of the Cuban Communist Party.

However, websites belonging to Cuban political dissidents said at the
time that the migrant boat was struck by a Cuban border guard boat.

At the time, Granma said the tragedy occurred off the northern coast of
Cuba near Villa Clara, and that the smugglers had charged $10,000 per
person for the voyage.

The indictment in Miami does not clarify whether the migrant boat was
overturned by the smugglers or rammed by the Cuban government boat.

The document only says that the "conduct" of Mena Núñez and Pérez Roche,
resulted "in the deaths of J.L.N.S. and Y.R.R."

Source: Two Miami men charged with organizing deadly 2008 voyage from
Cuba | In Cuba Today - http://www.incubatoday.com/news/article105383401.html
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