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Bahamas Interception of Cuban Migrants Jumps in 2022

CUBAN MIGRANTS OFF BAHAMAS
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Jan 16 (Reuters) – The Bahamas detained an increasing number of sea-borne Cuban migrants in 2022 compared with 2021, according to figures released to Reuters, as an economic crisis triggered an exodus from the Communist-run island.

The Royal Bahamas Defense Force (RBDF) apprehended 623 Cuban migrants in 2022 compared with 17 the year before, according to RBDF figures provided to

Cuban vessels typically end up in Bahamian waters after being blown off course or navigating the wrong way while trying to reach Florida.

Vessels are increasingly leaving from Cuba’s central Ciego de Avila province, RBDF Commodore Dr. Raymond King told Reuters, an area that is closer to The Bahamas.

“The number of Cuban migrants intercepted thus far has increased significantly during the past two months,” King said, noting that 61 Cubans have been intercepted in Bahamian waters so far this year.

Most Cuban migrants in 2022 arrived in the United States by the border with Mexico, though some still made perilous sea voyages.

The frequency of vessel departures from Ciego de Avila has increased from two to six vessels on average per day, King said. There were also more Cubans onboard each improvised vessel, with an average of eight to 20 people.

The expectation that the Biden administration would ease border restrictions known as “Title 42” was likely a factor in the increased migrant of 2022, he said.

But the United States in January expanded Trump-era restrictions to rapidly expel Cuban, Nicaraguan and Haitian migrants caught illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, while allowing up to 30,000 people from those three countries plus Venezuela to enter the country by air each month.

Reporting by Jasper Ward in Washington; Editing by Josie Kao

Slew of earthquakes in El Salvador affects over 100 homes

SAN SALVADOR, Jan 16 (Reuters) – At least 130 homes have been impacted by a burst of seismic activity in El Salvador, leaving over a dozen people in shelters, the Central American country’s government said on Monday.

Authorities reported 219 earthquakes from Sunday afternoon until Monday morning.

No deaths have been reported, but the tremors have damaged homes and caused at least 20 landslides, prompting officials to declare a red alert for towns in the department of Ahuachapan, the epicenter of the seismic activity.

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“We are working on evaluating the houses in order to meet the population’s needs,” Luis Amaya, director of El Salvador’s civil protection agency, said at a press conference.

The largest earthquake occurred at 5:07 p.m. on Sunday, at a magnitude of 5.1 and a shallow depth of nine kilometers, in the municipality of San Lorenzo, experts from the civil protection said.

Crews of public workers arrived at the scene on Monday to remove debris, while authorities set up eight emergency shelters in the area.

Reporting by Nelson Renteria; Editing by Leslie Adler
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