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Bodies of four victims found off Hollywood Beach identified as Cuban migrants

Bodies of four victims found off Hollywood Beach identified as Cuban
10/02/2014 9:20 PM 10/02/2014 9:20 PM

U. S. Coast Guard authorities have identified the bodies of four men
found floating in the Atlantic Ocean east of Hollywood Beach six weeks
ago as Cuban migrants.

They were part of a group nine – including eight men and one woman – who
left Cuba aboard a makeshift boat on Aug. 19, headed for Miami.

The boat never arrived and the five other migrants have yet to be found.

It is the latest tragedy at sea involving Cuban migrants.

While almost 800 Cuban migrants reached South Florida coasts safely in
the last 12 months, many others migrants never make it.

On Feb. 6, for example, four Haitian migrants were found dead 75 miles
northeast of West Palm Beach after their 24-foot motorboat capsized.

“We will continue to work with our federal, state and local partner
agencies to send a clear message to anyone contemplating this dangerous
and deadly voyage to reach the U.S. illegally,” said Capt. Mark Fedor,
chief of response for the U.S. Coast Guard in Miami. “Don’t risk your
life, or the lives of those you love. Don’t become the next soul lost at

Though the Coast Guard identified the four recovered bodies, it made no
reference to the missing five. But Ramón Saúl Sánchez, president of
Democracy Movement in Miami, said family members in South Florida told
him that there was nine migrants originally on the boat.

The Coast Guard identified the dead as Guillermo Enrique Buitrago
Milanés, 45; José Ramón Acosta, 35; Alberto González Mesa, 25 and Junier
Fernández Hernández, 32.

Sánchez declined to identify the other five, but a person familiar with
the case said their names are Yunier Díaz, Jorge Lazo, Yudersy Leal,
Lester Martinez and Ahmed Vargas.

Not all family members in Miami could be located, and some were not
willing to talk publicly about their family members.

The husband of a woman said she was a cousin of Junier Fenández Hernández.

“We have no details as to what happened,” he said.

Idania Mesa, aunt of Alberto González Mesa, said the group consisted
mostly of young people who were desperate to leave Cuba because they saw
no future for themselves or their children. She said González sold hot
dogs in a government-run shop in San Antonio de los Baños. Gonzáles left
behind a 2-year-old boy, she said.

Idania said she learned that the group was coming when her sister called
her from San Anonio de los Baños shortly after the boat left the island.

“She told me that the people, including Alberto, had left the island on
Aug.19 and were en route to Miami,” recalled Idania.

She began to grow worried after several days. Then weeks passed and she
did not hear from her nephew.

She contacted Ramón Saúl Sánchez who reached out to the Coast Guard.

Another family member who provided details was Olga Lidia Guerra, whose
sister is the mother-in-law of Guillermo Enrique Buitrago Milanés.

“She called and said that he was on his way,” Guerra said.

Sánchez worked with the Coast Guard and family members to establish the
identities of the four bodies, providing pictures, DNA and identifying

Family members said they received official notification of the deaths
and identities in mid-September.

Source: Bodies of four victims found off Hollywood Beach identified as
Cuban migrants | The Miami Herald –


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