Colombian authorities detained 17 Cuban migrants found in Pacific waters who were attempting to travel to the United States illegally.
The immigrants were found in a passenger boat just minutes after they launched from the port of Buenaventura, Colombia’s main port in the Pacific Ocean.
This maritime operation was carried out by the Colombian Navy, the Buenaventura coastguard and personnel from Migration.
The coastguard were completing routine patrols of the bay in Buenaventura when they inspected a boat named “Bravo II” and found ten men and seven women aboard.
On being asked to show their documentation the immigrants produced Ecuadorian paperwork, although preliminary reports found that they are in fact of Cuban origin.
According to a statement made by the Colombian Navy they were on their way to Ciudad Mutis in Solano Bay of the Choco department on the Pacific Coast at the border with Panama.
From there they were to travel to Central America in a succession of short maritime crossings. Once there the plan was to look for ways of getting into the US.
The 17 people who were found aboard the boat “Bravo II” are now in the hands of Migration Colombia under their jurisdiction in the area of the Colombian Pacific.
Migration Colombia is the authority which will be responsible for carrying out the obligatory procedures for their deportation.
This interception of illegal immigrants travelling through Colombia to reach the US is far from unique. Colombia’s geographic location at the northernmost tip of South America makes its waters a popular transit point for illegal transport of migrants.
Authorities in Antioquia reported that 84% of illegal immigrants captured are Cuban and official records have reported 388 illegal immigrants intercepted so far this year in boats traveling from the coast of Colombia near the border with Panama.