- Josh Romney swipes Harry Reid with photo tweet of dad paying taxes — ‘your paycheck’
- Despite Obamacare problems, some Dems want Sebelius to run for Senate: report
- Angry New Yorkers shred gun registrations in deadline day protests
- Uninsured rate dropping faster in places that embraced pillars of Obamacare, survey shows
- Hawaii gives residents two more weeks to sign up under Obamacare
- Climate change causing fish to lose their minds, researchers say
- Great Britain tops World’s Most Sexist Nation list
- Aaron Hernandez investigated for threatening to kill prison guard
- Putin tells Merkel that Ukraine is on the brink of civil war
- San Antonio mayor to Obama: Give amnesty to illegals with legal families
U.S. prepares for thousands to flee Cuba
MIAMI — Fearing a potential mass exodus of Cubans when Fidel Castro dies, dozens of federal, state and local agencies, along with the military, will participate in a massive two-day training exercise beginning today to hone migrant-interdiction skills.
The exercise will also test readiness to intercept vessels heading to Cuba. Some Cuban exile groups in South Florida have made clear their desire to set sail for Havana once they receive proof of Mr. Castro’s demise.
Last week, 47 migrants from Cuba were intercepted at sea by the Coast Guard and sent back to the communist island. One of those intercepted was allowed to stay because of a medical condition that required immediate attention.
The 50 or more groups participating in Operation Vigilant Sentry — a Coast Guard-designed drill — will also involve representatives from the State Department, the Pentagon and the Justice and Homeland Security departments.
Though Coast Guard officials would not specify just how many ships, aircraft and people would participate, they did acknowledge it as the most extensive preparation yet for such a mass-migration scenario.
“By interdicting people at sea, it’s putting out the message that it’s not safe to travel here that way,” said Coast Guard Petty Officer Jennifer Johnson.
One scenario to be practiced during the exercise is the interception of a vessel sailing out of Fort Lauderdale, Fla. for Cuba.
“We’re going to simulate several situations to test areas of the plan to see if they are working,” said another Coast Guard official.
The ailing Mr. Castro, 80, ceded power in July to his younger brother, Raul. The elder Mr. Castro had abdominal surgery and has not been seen in public since.
This week’s exercise comes weeks after Congress approved an $18 million Pentagon plan to prepare U.S. Naval Base Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to accommodate migrants intercepted at sea.
Bush administration officials told The Washington Times the improvements would create facilities to handle about 10,000 migrants.
Other improvements would include a processing center for those seeking asylum.
Typically, Cubans who reach dry land in the United States are allowed to remain in the country, while those intercepted at sea are returned home.
Officials fear the so-called “wet foot-dry foot” policy would be overwhelmed in the event of a mass migration.
“The capacity to process migrants at Guantanamo is an integral part of our plans to ensure that any attempted mass migration in the Caribbean is not successful,” one Bush administration official said.
By returning to Christian roots, the nation can achieve greatness once again
- Fuel-filled wings, ability to swarm: Pentagon offers glimpse at future of drone fleet
- Secret U.S. assessments show Afghanistan not ready to govern on own
- CARSON: Recovering Tocqueville's vision of American exceptionalism
- 'Culture of intimidation' seen in Nevada ranch standoff
- GOP writes legislation to deny Attorney General Eric Holder his salary
- WEBER: Obamacare cuts home healthcare for millions of seniors
- PHILLIPS: What did Harry Reid know and when did he know it?
- HURT: Wilson and Obama ... 100 years apart, but so alike
- U.S. Navy to turn seawater into jet fuel
- HHS nominee Sylvia Burwell entangled in MetLife lawsuit
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.
Chaos as Manhattan building explodes