January 13, 2006

A bridge is not dry land

Miami, Florida (AHN) Authorities said 15 Cubans fleeing their homeland and who found themselves on an abandoned bridge in the Florida Keys were returned to Cuba, Monday January 9, after U.S. officials concluded the bridge did not constitute dry land.

Under the U.S. government’s “wet-foot, dry-foot” policy, Cubans who reach dry land in the United States are allowed to remain in the country, while those caught at sea are sent back. {{more}}

The historic Old Seven Mile Bridge is missing several chunks, and the Cubans reached bridge pilings from a section that no longer touches land. The federal government said that means the group never actually reached U.S. territory, and could be sent home.

The Cubans, including a 2-year-old boy and a 13-year-old boy, left Cuba the night of January 2 aboard a small, homemade boat. They were rescued by the Coast Guard from the base of the bridge just south of Marathon Key.