Cuban migrants threatened themselves to fend off law enforcement at sea

DORAL, FLA. (WSVN) - Some of the 11 Cuban migrants who arrived on Hollywood Beach, Saturday, cut and threatened themselves to keep law enforcement from stopping them at sea.

The migrants said they were shot with rubber bullets by law enforcement at sea, as the officers tried to keep them from landing ashore.

“Eight days without water and without food, and I told them to have hope,” said Luis Martinez, outside World Church Service in Doral. “Do whatever Cubans do, to struggle, to touch land.”

Some of those aboard the 10-foot boat began cutting themselves and threatening to hurt themselves with knives so that the law enforcement wouldn’t stop them.

“Look, we cut ourselves so they would let us get to the shore,” said Johnachel Morales. “They would slow down, but then come up at us again, and we would cut ourselves again.”

Officer Tyson Matthew, of the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission, said every time law enforcement approached the boat, the migrants made desperate threats.

“What I understand, every time law enforcement tried to approach and get near them, they were threatening themselves,” said Matthew. “There were knives on board and several weapons.”

One man stabbed himself and was rushed to the hospital for treatment. There were 10 Cuban men and one woman on board the boat.

“We spent five days without food and without water. We are happy to get here,” said Morales.

A second group of Cubans came ashore in Key Biscayne, Saturday morning. One of those migrants, Yoel Diaz-Hernandez, spoke to 7News in Doral outside Church World Service. “I left my wife and my 1-year-old child to work, and that’s it,” he said through a translator.

Police were waiting on the beach in Hollywood, Saturday morning, because they knew the migrants were coming ashore with knives. Hollywood Police said one of their officers had to use a Taser on a migrant when they began running at them.

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