Thousands Of Cubans Fleeing Their Island Have Braved Waters Teeming With Hordes of Sharks

Yana Bostongirl
SharkPhoto byKaren ZhangonUnsplash

The fact that the waters surrounding Cuba are teeming with sharks has not deterred the hundreds of thousands who are seeking American freedom. They make their way in ramshackle rafts at the mercy of the sea and sometimes with only a thin skin of rubber separating them from the predators circling below.

Per reports, the mass exodus from Cuba over the past 6 decades due to communist dictatorship amounts to 2.7 million people with 227,000 just last year: "More than 227,000 Cubans fled Cuba last year. The U.S. Coast Guard reported that 22 migrants died during fiscal 2022. On Dec. 21, Associated Press reporters said that families of Cubans who fled the country during the current exodus had compiled a list of 135 missing relatives."

A former heavyweight boxing champ and Cuban exile, Elicier Castillo experienced firsthand the horrors of the crossing when he and a flotilla of ramshackle rafts were carried off course by the current. Castillo later spent 5 days at sea on his flimsy vessel which was made up of an inner tube and a canvas raft lashed together as this excerpt explains: "He recalls watching many of the rafts around him capsizing and falling apart from the waves. The sharks would rush in immediately, their patience and diligence paying off. Castillo would see the water frothing white, then red as his fellow rafters yelled for help."

Castillo was so traumatized by the ordeal that whenever he saw something with sharks in it, he quickly turned it off.

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