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Cuba Tries Three Mexicans on Charges of Migrant Smuggling


Prosecutors in Cuba have asked a judge to impose 10-year prison sentences on three Mexicans accused of smuggling migrants.

Reports say the judge has up to a month to announce a verdict for the Mexicans, Juan Barco, Luis Chan, and Johnny Fuentes, who were arrested last year in Cienfuegos, Cuba. Cuban authorities allege the men tried to smuggle 17 people, including four children, from the island to Mexico.

The defendants have pleaded not guilty, saying they were only fishing when their boat ended up in Cuban waters.

Mexico is among several routes smugglers use to get Cuban migrants into the United States. Under a U.S. law, Cubans who reach U.S. soil are generally allowed to stay, while those intercepted at sea are sent home.

Cuban officials say U.S. immigration policies encourage Cuban citizens to undertake risky journeys to get to the United States.

Last week, Cuban authorities shot at three suspected migrant smugglers from the United States. One was killed and another wounded. The wounded man and the other survivor were arrested.

Some information for this report provided by AP and Reuters.

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