Evidence of a human trafficking operation exposed in Cuba

Evidence of a human trafficking operation exposed in Cuba
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Fecha de publicación: 
10 November 2022
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An investigation by Cuban television on Wednesday exposed new information about a human trafficking operation in which 26 people have been left adrift, including a minor who needed medical assistance.

The Ministry of the Interior reported that last October 30 the passengers aboard a disabled speedboat with U.S. license plates were left to their fate by the traffickers.

The investigation revealed the identity of the driver of the boat, who has been prosecuted on the island on two occasions for theft.

Rafael López, from the central province of Villa Clara, worked as a tractor operator and was involved in fishing activities, which gave him a wide knowledge of the area where he lived.

In 2001 he illegally emigrated to the United States and settled in Miami, Florida, where he engaged in human trafficking by sea.

According to the report, for each illegal crossing, Lopez received sums ranging between $60,000 and $100,000, and in his operations, he smuggled women, children, people with criminal records and fugitives, and family members and friends.

Lopez declared that he loaded more than 25 passengers in speedboats designed for 14 or 15 people, according to the instructions he received from the owners of the ship, who decided the date and time of the raids, as well as the forms of payment.

The investigation indicated that "this man is the face of boat owners who operate as mafias and obtain hundreds of thousands of dollars in each operation".

Regarding the events of October 30, Lopez explained that he was going to receive a payment of 100 thousand dollars for the trip, however, when the boat's engines failed, he abandoned the passengers, including four minors.

Cuban authorities recently warned about the dangers of illegal departures from the island, in operations without any real interest in human life.

The Government of the island has reiterated its commitment to an orderly and safe migration, and its willingness to dialogue so that a process that is a human right may be exercised without obstacles or manipulations.

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