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US Coast Guard Rescues 33 Cubans at Sea

  • VOA News

Havana, Cuba

Havana, Cuba

The U.S. Coast Guard rescued 33 Cuban men from the Atlantic Ocean on Wednesday, 11 kilometers off the coast of the southeastern state of Florida.

It is the second major interception this week and part of an increasing number of migrants caught fleeing the island nation by boat. In fiscal 2014, the number of U.S. rescues was at a six-year high and up 50 percent compared to 2013. There have been about 150 Cubans plucked from the waters off Florida since October 1.

Because the overloaded boat did not make landfall and the men never reached the shore, they will be returned to Cuba under a policy known as "wet-foot, dry-foot." The law allows most Cubans to stay in the United States if they step on American soil.

Two men are still missing from a similar rescue on Monday, when the Coast Guard pulled 11 Cubans from the waters near Miami.

This year, the Coast Guard has caught just over 2,000 Cuban migrants making the risky journey at sea to flee the Communist regime, which is under an economically debilitating decades-long embargo from the United States.