Florida declares emergency as Cubans flood in
Friday 19 August 1994
Speaking at Key West, the southern extremity of Florida only 90 miles from Havana, and where many of the Cubans are arriving by boat, dinghy and raft, Governor Lawton Chiles said he would call out the state's National Guard if neccessary to process the immigrants. Some 547 arrived on Wednesday alone, the biggest one-day inflow this year. He demanded an increase in US Coast Guard patrols of the Florida Straits, and federal money to help house and feed the newcomers.
'Hundreds of people, maybe thousands, are lined up waiting to leave,' Mr Chiles said. 'There is no effort by Castro to stop them - indeed it looks like every effort is being made to encourage them.'
Senior officials were meeting at the White House yesterday to consider Mr Chiles' demand. But there was no immediate sign of additional emergency measures. The crisis was 'manageable,' an Administration spokesman said, adding that it was not yet clear whether the surge in migration was anything other than temporary.
But State Department officials believe President Castro has deliberately changed policy since rioting in Havana a fortnight ago which triggered the latest flood of emigrants. While larger vessels are still prevented from leaving, the officials believe - and eyewitnesses in Cuba confirm - that police and border guards are not stopping smaller craft.
The exodus is now the largest since the boatlift from Mariel 14 years ago, when 125,000 Cubans made it to the US in five months. Unlike then, Cuban-Americans are not sending out boats from Florida to to rescue their compatriots. Even so, 7,000 Cubans have already left their country this year, double the total for all 1993. This month's figure alone is around 2,000.
In Washington, Rafael Dausa, political director of the Cuban interest section, which functions as an unofficial embassy, insisted Havana had not changed its policy on emigration. But he warned Cuba would cease trying to block refugees if the US did not act to stop them. This action, said Mr Dausa, should include an end to the US economic embargo of Cuba, something the Clinton Administration says it has no intention of doing.
- 1 Forget 'The Dress': Here are five of the biggest news stories you might have missed
- 2 The black and blue dress: Makers considering a white and gold version
- 3 Prince Harry leaving the armed forced to pursue conservation projects in Africa
- 4 PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
Boris Nemtsov shot dead: Outspoken Putin critic who had expressed fears for his life is killed near the Kremlin
Leonard Nimoy dead: Star Trek Spock actor dies after suffering lung disease
PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
Ukraine crisis: Top Chinese diplomat backs Putin, says West should 'abandon zero-sum mentality'
White and gold or blue and black – what colour is the dress? An eyewitness gives a definitive answer
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
Half of Ukip voters say they are prejudiced against people of other races
'Cash for access' scandal: Sir Malcolm Rifkind says 'unrealistic' for MPs to live on £67,000 salary
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Aqsa Mahmood branded a 'disgrace' by her parents after claims she recruited three UK girls flying to Middle East
Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: EXETER - A great new opportunity with real pot...
Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: EXETER - An outstanding senior opportunity for...
salary equal to £40K pro-rata: Sauce Recruitment: Are you available to start a...
£35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Creative Front-End Developer - Claph...