Photo: Detained undocumented migrants
The navy of the Dominican Republic announced Wednesday that it detained 52 undocumented migrants from Haiti and Cuba who were trying to travel illegally to the neighboring island of Puerto Rico, a U.S. commonwealth.
A group of 13 Cubans was surprised on Tuesday afternoon on Saona Island as they were preparing to travel to Puerto Rico in a Zodiac boat, which would have been - the navy said - “a risky and dangerous trip.”
The Cubans were transferred to the naval intelligence center in Santo Domingo to be questioned and processed.
In another operation, the navy said it detained a boat containing 39 Haitians, who were also trying to make it to Puerto Rico, this vessel being intercepted near Nisibon and La Vacama.
Also taken into custody at that time were Dominicans Julio Castro, Victor Martinez, Damian Garcia and Juan Damian, who were said to be the leaders of the aborted voyage.
The Dominican Republic is separated from Puerto Rico by the Mona Passage, a channel 100 kilometers (62 miles) wide. The journey is a dangerous one and many migrants die trying to reach U.S. territory.
So far this year, the Dominican navy has detained more than 400 people, more than half of them Haitians, who were trying to sail to Puerto Rico illegally in small boats.