"US sees surge in Cuban rafters aiming for Florida"
The writer cites the reasons Cubans still flee and the fact that more rafts have left this year than last. It describes the treacherous trip, and dangers the people endure.
It explains the ridiculous "wet-foot, dry-foot" rule, which states that if the Cubans reach U.S. soil, they can stay, but if they get picked up at sea, they are returned. Interestingly, one can leave the Cuban shore, and arrive at the U.S. military base in Guantanamo and be declared free, as it is deemed U.S. soil We have a relative who did just that many years ago.
I've always thought that it was a silly U.S. rule, to return people just because they can't get to our soil. But this article actually says this is a rule that was negotiated by the two countries. About that subject, the article says: "Twenty years have passed since Fidel Castro eased political pressure on his communist government by telling Cubans they were free to leave. His declaration in August 1994 launched a sudden exodus of 35,000 islanders. Thousands were picked up by the U.S. Coast Guard and spent months behind barbed wire at the U.S. Navy base on Cuba's eastern edge.
Finally, President Bill Clinton reached a deal with Castro: The migrants at Guantanamo could come to the U.S., and at least 20,000 other Cubans a year could get U.S. visas. But Cuban authorities would resume patrolling to keep people off unseaworthy rafts, and the U.S. would enforce a "wet-foot, dry foot" policy: Anyone intercepted at sea would be returned to Cuba; any Cuban reaching U.S. soil could stay.
It was a political compromise, meant to resolve a humanitarian crisis. But it never stopped Cubans from risking their lives to cross the 90-mile Florida Straits: Another 26,000 Cubans have tried it since 1995."