Cuba Says 141 Haitian Migrants Stranded On South Coast

HAVANA (AP) — A group of 141 Haitian migrants have been stranded on Cuba’s southern coast, Cuban authorities said Saturday, part of a series of large-scale efforts by Haitians to flee their troubled nation.

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

It said they had set out eight days earlier from Gonave Island, west of the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince. Migrants said they had hoped to reach Miami but were blown off course by bad weather.

Cubadebate said the group was given medical aid and taken to a youth camp.

In late May, 842 Haitians were rescued from a boat off Cuba’s north coast, where they had been abandoned by smugglers.

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

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

That came just days after authorities in the Bahamas recovered the bodies of 17 migrants and rescued 25 more after their boat capsized.

A growing number of Haitians are fleeing their country as gangs grow more powerful following the July 7, 2021, assassination of President Jovenel Moïse.