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article imageCuban man rescued adrift on makeshift raft to be repatriated

By Igor I. Solar     Jul 14, 2010 in World
Miami - A Cuban national who may have been floating at sea for almost three weeks on a raft built with polyurethane foam was rescued off the coast of Florida according to agents from USA Customs and Border Protection (US-CBP).
The man, whose age and identity have not been released, was detected yesterday by CBP officers from a plane while patrolling the Caribbean Sea. The officers noticed what appeared to be a small boat about 50 miles south of Marathon in the Florida Keys, on the southern tip of the state. When they approached the floating object they determined that it was a raft, about two meters long constructed with polyurethane foam and wood sticks, with one individual on board.
The crew of the CBP plane coordinated a rescue operation with USA-Coast Guard and guided a Coast Guard vessel to the location of the raft. The man was transferred to the vessel and a preliminary medical examination showed that he was suffering from severe dehydration. The man was traveling with just a small bottle of fresh water. According to the Palm Beach Post, the Cuban man informed the U.S. authorities that he had left Havana in mid-June.
According to an immigration agreement between Cuba and the United States, those who manage to set foot on land can remain in the USA and may obtain residence a year later. However, migrants who are intercepted at sea, even a few meters from the shore, must be repatriated. Therefore, the man found adrift on the raft about 80 miles away from the Florida Keys will be returned to Cuba.
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