Cuban woman tells tales of human smuggling
Ray Sanchez | Cuba notebook | Sun Sentinel
Word about potential smuggling voyages comes to her almost weekly, a 24-year-old woman named Adiany says.
Just last week, a friend informed her that two go-fast boats from South Florida would pick up 52 Cuban migrants along the northern coast. “This time it’s a sure thing,” the friend insisted.
Though anxious to be reunited with her husband in Miami, Adiany declined. The uncertainty and peril surrounding two of her previous trips worried her mother. “I don’t think she can handle the stress,” said Adiany, who asked that her full name not be used for fear of reprisals by Cuban police.
Adiany claims to have tried to leave the island 25 times. Cuban police have arrested her “numerous” times on her way to meet smugglers, and held her overnight, she said. Other times the boats failed to show up. Twice she has made it on board smuggling vessels, only to be intercepted by the U.S. Coast Guard and returned to Cuba.
“You try and you fail,” said Adiany, who now contemplates flying to a Latin American country and entering the United States through Mexico. “Then you keep trying and trying until finally you make it.”
The number of Cubans trying to leave the island appears to be rising, according to analysts and coast guard officials, who cite an increase in interdictions at sea this year. With slightly more than three months to year’s end — as of Thursday — the Coast Guard has intercepted 2,467 Cuban migrants at sea, compared with a total of 2,293 in 2006. The current rate threatens to eclipse the 2,952 migrants intercepted in 2005, the largest one-year total since 1994, when 37,191 Cubans were picked up at sea during the rafter crisis.