ABOVE THE FLORIDA STRAITS (AP) _ Despite the historic shift in the relationship between Havana and Washington, the U.S. Coast Guard still returns any Cuban migrants caught at sea to the communist island.
U.S. authorities have captured or intercepted more than 2,600 Cuban migrants attempting risky sea journeys to U.S. shores since Oct. 1. That tally is expected to match or surpass last year’s total of nearly 4,000.
Coast Guard planes are equipped with sensors that pick out shapes on the water’s surface miles away. From a patrol altitude of about 1,500 feet, a migrant vessel appears the size of a buoy.
Crews will toss down buckets containing water and food to migrants frantically signaling for help.
Some have confessed to getting caught half a dozen times or more.