MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexico will free 14 Cuban migrants rescued by its navy this month and will give them permanent residency, a Mexican immigration official said on Monday.
The Cubans were intercepted off the Yucatan peninsula badly sunburned and dehydrated after three weeks adrift at sea, and Mexico’s government said they would likely be deported. They were without food and survived by drinking rain water.
The 14 and another 18 Cubans left Manzanillo in eastern Cuba on Aug 7 in a homemade boat, relatives of the survivors told Reuters.
The migrant boat’s motor broke down after two days and the passengers rigged a makeshift sail.
Relatives said as many as 15 passengers died during the voyage, and their bodies were thrown overboard. Two more died after being rescued.