Two die when boat carrying Cuban migrants capsizes off Mexico


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MEXICO CITY -- Two migrants have died after a boat carrying 23 Cuban nationals fleeing the tightly controlled Communist nation capsized near a tourist island off Mexico’s coast, news reports said.

Ten of the migrants were in custody and 11 were missing but presumed to have made it to the island elsewhere, port captain Ismael Gonzalez Gil told the daily El Universal (link in Spanish). Their whereabouts were unknown.


The migrants were trying to land at Isla Mujeres, about eight miles off the Yucatan peninsula, near Cancun, when their boat capsized in heavy surf early Friday. They were reached by a Mexican navy patrol after their improvised boat flipped, reports said.

Photographs published online (link in Spanish) showed a group of men standing on the beach, some crying and hugging, identified as migrants who were mourning the two dead.

Cubans have increasingly attempted to reach the United States through Mexico. The number of undocumented Cuban migrants arrested by Mexican immigration authorities soared from about 200 in 2004 to at least 2,000 in 2008, The Times reported.

Local naval authorities told news outlets they was searching the island and the mainland coast for the 11 missing migrants.


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-- Daniel Hernandez