MIAMI (WSVN) - Twenty members of a group of Cuban migrants found on a lighthouse that were ordered to be repatriated to Cuba will instead go to Guantanamo Bay, due to credible fears of retaliation by the Cuban government.
“I’m very happy ’cause at least 20 of them are going to have right for the freedom,” said Fernando Alvarez, the cousin of one of the migrants.
Alvarez is hopeful that his cousin is among the group going to the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base. “I don’t know the names yet, but I have a big hope that my cousin will be there,” Alvarez said.
The development came Thursday evening, when a letter from the U.S. attorney was filed after the migrants were reinterviewed. The letter said 20 have credible fears of prosecution if they are sent back. Authorities will work to find a third country to take the migrants in.
However, four of the migrants will still return to Cuba.
The group of Migrants were found at a lighthouse several miles off the coast of Sugarloaf Key in May, when their boat was spotted by the Coast Guard. Earlier this week, a judge ruled that reaching the lighthouse did not qualify as touching United States soil under the wet foot, dry foot policy, therefore ordering they be sent back.
Activist Raul Saul Sanchez is grateful for the new development. “I feel very happy and very grateful to live in a country where we can have these differences with the government,” Sanchez said.
The announcement that the migrants will be going to Guantanamo Bay comes the same day that lawyers announced the discovery of a message in a bottle. The letter was found by fisherman and claims mistreatment by the Coast Guard.
In response to this letter, the U.S. Coast Guard released a statement, Thursday morning, which stated, “This was a very challenging situation for both the migrants and our Coast Guard crews as their case was adjudicated. The migrants were afforded the most comfortable conditions possible given the extenuating circumstances. All migrants receive food, water, clothing and medical care while on board our cutters. Safety of life at sea, regardless of nationality, is the Coast Guard’s primary concern.”
Lawers said that, according to U.S. law, the Cubans cannot come to the country after being in Guantanamo Bay and must go to a different country.
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