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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
05PORTAUPRINCE1550
2005-06-03 19:19:00
UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
Embassy Port Au Prince
Cable title:  

JUNE 1 REPATRIATION OF 162 HAITIAN MIGRANTS

Tags:   PINR  SMIG  HA 
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This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
						UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 PORT AU PRINCE 001550 

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PINR SMIG HA
SUBJECT: JUNE 1 REPATRIATION OF 162 HAITIAN MIGRANTS

REF: A. PAP 1274


B. PAP 1375

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 PORT AU PRINCE 001550

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PINR SMIG HA
SUBJECT: JUNE 1 REPATRIATION OF 162 HAITIAN MIGRANTS

REF: A. PAP 1274


B. PAP 1375


1. SUMMARY. On June 1, the Coast Guard cutter Confidence
repatriated to Haiti 162 migrants who claimed to have
departed Les Cayes on 19 May. The Confidence, the USCGC
Metompkin and a USCG helicopter intercepted the migrants in a
65 foot sail freighter 60 nautical miles south of Andros
Island, Bahamas on the afternoon of May 27. The migrants
claimed that the length of their voyage was due to their
passage close to Cuba in order to avoid USCG patrols. Among
them was a family of eight including six children and their
mother, eight months pregnant. Of the 162 migrants, 25
percent were female, 90 percent were younger than 40, and 10
percent were minors. Their boat was in fair condition and
they had some provisions left at the time of interdiction.
None of the migrants expressed credible fear of persecution.
Some cited economic misery and unemployment as the reasons
for their departure. Their stated destination was Miami.
Some admitted to paying from USD20 to USD400 for passage.
This is the third migrant repatriation in the past month
(reftels). END SUMMARY.


2. The migrants claimed to have departed from Morency, a
village near Les Cayes on the southern coast of Haiti on
April 19. Many migrants listed Les Cayes and Saint Louis du
Sud as their home, although others said they were from
Port-au-Prince. While this story seemed suspicious, a
Haitian employee in PD confirmed that they were not
northerners by their dress and accent. A couple of migrants
said that they passed close to Cuba to avoid USCG patrols and
had nearly reached Florida before their engine broke down and
they began to drift. They received assistance from passing
fisherman, who then reported the contact to the Royal
Bahamian Defense Force. Because they were in shallow water
on the Grand Bahama Bank, the Coast Guard employed multiple
assets to direct the boat to deeper water where the
passengers could be offloaded. The Confidence dropped the
migrants at Killick Naval Base in Port-au-Prince on June 1,
where the Haitian Coast Guard and the Office of National
Migration processed them and gave them lunch, travel money
(400 Gourdes, app. 10 dollars each) and t-shirts that read
(Embassy informal translation): "Do not risk your life by
getting on a migrant boat. You will never make it."

Medical Cases --


3. Four migrants were evaluated and treated for medical
concerns. One of the migrants was near death due to
dehydration at the time of the interdiction. By June 1, he
had responded to intravenous fluids and was eating a little.
However, he remained extremely weak and the Haitian Coast
Guard called an ambulance for him upon his arrival. A second
man was suffering from elephantitis. The internal stitches
of a third man, who reported sustaining a gunshot wound in
April, appeared to be coming out of his skin. Lastly, a
woman had taken to sea with her husband and five children,
while eight months pregnant. Her husband, himself previously
repatriated via Guantanamo Bay in 1998, said that they will
not try again, as it is too dangerous.

Hard Cases --


4. One migrant of note was Jean Milor Dare, a Haitian
National Police officer who was a member of the Palace
Security Unit before he departed. He stated that he asked
for leave to return to his home of Les Cayes, then paid for
passage aboard the vessel. Five migrants had been placed in
shackles by the time they arrived in Port-au-Prince.
Commander John Fitzgerald, Captain of the Confidence,
reported that one man refused to follow instructions from the
outset, but the rest simply appeared frustrated at the length
of their voyage. Some migrants complained of being poorly
fed.


5. This group of migrants was somewhat atypical. After
almost two weeks at sea, the migrants looked very weary, and
some stated that they would not attempt the voyage again.
The journey from the southern coast of Haiti is much longer
and more difficult than from the northern coast. It appeared
as if this group was much more of a communal effort, and a
couple of them said that they only charged outsiders such as
the HNP officer. END COMMENT.
FOLEY