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Caribbean Updates: Cuban seaborne migration surging, (January 4, 2023


At least 500 migrants have arrived in the U.S. Florida Keys in recent days from Cuba, an influx that has overwhelmed local officials who called it a “crisis.”

Arrivals include 300 migrants arrived last weekend at the sparsely populated Dry Tortugas National Park, about 113 kilometers west of Key West, forcing it to temporarily close.

Authorities said the influx began around New Year’s Eve, and is part of a surge in seaborne migration to the U.S. In the one-year period ending in September, the United States Coast Guard apprehended more than 6,000 Cubans, compared with close to 840 migrants the previous year.

(Associated PressReutersMiami HeraldNew York Times)

Human Rights

  • Guyana’s Court of Appeals declined to strike down the country’s death penalty, a landmark challenge to capital punishment that activists promised to continue in the Caribbean Court of Justice. (Kaieteur NewsDeath Penalty Project)

Climate Justice and Energy

  • Guyanese President Irfaan Ali talks to Al Jazeera on whether the country’s oil discoveries are a blessing or a curse.

Decolonization and Reparations

  • Sir Hilary Beckles commended The Netherlands for its apology for African enslavement, but criticized the lack of organized input and support from the Caribbean and affected communities. “The unilateralism of the apology and acknowledgments must now move to a multilateral basis.” (See Dec. 19’s Just Caribbean Updates.)

  • British actor Benedict Cumberbatch could be targeted for reparations by Barbados, part of the government’s efforts to obtain compensation from the descendants of onetime slave-owning families and plantation holders. (Daily Beast)

Food Security

  • Perverse tax incentives and extreme weather have pushed Puerto Rico to import nearly 80 percent of its food, but gourmet crops like cacao have enticed islanders to return to agriculture, reports Modern Farmer.


  • The New York Immigration Coalition condemned what it says is the exclusion of protections for Caribbean and other immigrants from the U.S. bipartisan spending bill for fiscal year 2023 that passed in the lower chamber of Congress. (Caribbean Media Corporation)


  • Environmental issues and public security took top billing last year in Global Voices’ Caribbean coverage, edging out corruption, a top concern in previous years, writes Janine Mendes-Franco.


  • A number of important achievements in the fight for LGBTQ rights took place in the Caribbean in 2022, especially in countries with lagging records in this area. Global Americans highlights Cuba’s new family code, allowing same-sex couples to marry and adopt, and the decriminalization of same-sex relations in Antigua and Barbuda, St. Kitts and Nevis, and Barbados.


  • Trinidadian musician Black Stalin, who died last week aged 81, “was a modern calypsonian of the old school, dedicated to keeping political and social commentary at the heart of his music when other exponents of the art were becoming purveyors of frivolous party music,” according to the Guardian.

Just Caribbean Updates

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