Mexico’s navy took two rafts packed with Cuban migrants into custody off the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula Sunday.
Ten migrants aboard a wooden raft told authorities who found them about 12 nautical miles north of Puerto Progreso that they’d set sail 16 days ago from Isla de la Juventud, Cuba, the navy said. In a separate instance, another group of 13 migrants were rescued after a fishing vessel spotted a raft floating about 133 nautical miles north of the port.
The men received food and medical attention and were turned over to Mexico’s National Migration Institute, which will communicate with Cuban consular authorities to coordinate their return to Cuba, officials said.
In recent years, Cuban migrants seeking alternate travel routes have increasingly sailed toward Mexico on their journeys toward the United States, according to a report from the U.S. Congressional Research Service.
Hiring a smuggler to travel to Mexico can be more effective and easier than taking a boat ride to Miami, Marc Rosenblum of the Washington-based Migration Policy Institute told The Arizona Daily star this month.
CNN en Español’s Jose Antonio Flores contributed to this report.