Cuba: The Human Cost of Migration
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ANOTHER MASS MIGRATION: MORE LIVES LOST WHILE FLEEING CUBA
Desperation grows among thousands of Cubans trapped in Central America wishing to reach the United States and those en route face untold dangers, risks, and horrors. This is just the latest of many migration crises in almost six decades of dictatorship; it is as emblematic of the despair leading so many to leave Communist Cuba. The human cost of this tragedy implies untold losses —personal and to the Cuban nation. Countless thousands have paid the highest price, many were very young and had long lives ahead of them.
Tragically, this story, spanning over five decades, is still being written. Below, we cite cases and numbers of documented deaths and disappearances in exit attempts from our work-in-progress. However, this does no justice to the magnitude of the tragedy, as many names of those who perished in collective incidents are unknown and we have much more to document.
No to impunity. Lets demand an end to this horror, especially to the deliberate killing by state authorities of unarmed individuals attempting to flee.
1,166 documented victims of exit attempts include: 21 Executions, 152 Extrajudicial killings, 16 Forced disappearances, 14 killed by mines in Guantánamo, hypothermia, etc., 165 Drowned, etc. at sea, and 985 Disappeared/Missing. (Many reports of missing or disappeared are believed to be killings by state authorities.)
SEVERAL CASES OCCURING IN THE MONTH OF DECEMBER
December 16, 2014: Extrajudicial Execution. 32 year-old Liosbel Díaz Beoto drowned after Cuban boarder guards sank the boat in which he and 31 other passengers, including 7 women and 2 children, headed for Florida in a smuggling operation. Border guards shot at and rammed the vessel ignoring the passengers’ pleas for mercy and reportedly sank it in international waters. Liosbel, a Cuban-born Italian resident, had gone to pick up his wife and 5 year-old son.
December 17, 2013: Forced Disappearance. Five men —Omar Pérez Hernández, Ramón Estrada Murciego, Isidro Sánchez Vázquez, Maximiliano Abreu Becerra, Alfredo Torres Paz— disappeared while attempting to leave Cuba by boat; their relatives believe State Security had entrapped them. Omar was an independent journalist under persecution who was trying to avoid arrest by State Security (the political police).
December 24, 2004: Forced Disappearance. Idania Garcia Quesada, Noel Abreu García, Jorge García Sánchez, Leonel García Sánchez, and Enrique Vázquez Escobar were presumed disappeared by authorities for attempting to flee the country by boat. The day before their planned escape, the wife of one of the group, had reported the plan to Cuban authorities, seeking to prevent her husband from leaving. Idania, 32, was a dentist and human rights’ activist who had endured persistent harassment and threats by State Security, repudiation rallies, and a dragging through the streets.
See some of our more detailed reports on victims of exit attempts:
Cuba’s Guantánamo Berlin Wall
The Tugboat Massacre of 1994
The Canimar River Massacre of 1980
Civilians killed for attempting to flee Cuba
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Cuba Archive’s Truth and Memory Project documents the loss of life resulting from
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