Cuba says 141 Haitian migrants stranded on south coast


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HAVANA — A group of 141 Haitian migrants are stranded on Cuba’s southern coast, Cuban authorities said Saturday, part of a series of large-scale efforts by Haitians to flee their beleaguered country.

The official Cubadebate website said the group that arrived Friday at La Tatagua beach in the central province of Cienfuegos included 22 children and several pregnant women.

He said they had left eight days earlier from the island of La Gonave, west of the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince. The migrants said they had hoped to reach Miami but were deflected by bad weather.

Cubadebate said the group received medical help and were taken to a youth camp.

At the end of May, 842 Haitians were rescued from a boat off the northern coast of Cuba, where they had been abandoned by smugglers.

Due to sea currents and winds, some smugglers’ ships aiming to reach the United States end up on the Cuban coast. Not all arrivals are officially reported, although in recent months authorities in Havana have acknowledged an increase in arrivals.

This week, US officials said at least five Haitian migrants drowned and 68 others were rescued after a suspected human smuggling boat dropped the group in waters near an uninhabited island in western Puerto Rico.

It came just days after Bahamian authorities recovered the bodies of 17 migrants and rescued 25 others after their boat capsized.

A growing number of Haitians are fleeing their country as gangs grow stronger after the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse on July 7, 2021.

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