FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                    AG
THURSDAY, AUGUST 18, 1994                                    (202) 514-2007
                                                         TDD (202) 514-1888


     To divert the Cuban people from seeking democratic change,
the government of Cuba has resorted to an unconscionable tactic
of letting people risk their lives by leaving in flimsy vessels
through the treacherous waters of the Florida Straits.  
     Many people have lost their lives in such crossings. We urge
the people of Cuba to remain home and not to fall for this
callous maneuver.
     I want to work with all concerned including the Cuban
American community to make sure the message goes out to Cubans
that putting a boat or raft to sea means putting life and limb at
     The Cuban government is not acting this way because of U.S.
immigration policy.  It is a desperate attempt to salvage a
communist regime which has fallen victim to its own inherent
rigidity and repression.   An uncontrolled exodus from Cuba will
do nothing to address Cuba's internal problems.  The solution to
Cuba's problems is rapid, fundamental and far reaching political
and economic reform.
     Cuban Americans have recognized Castro's ploy and the word
has gone out that the U.S. will not tolerate boats leaving from
South Florida as they did in Mariel -- in which 90% of the influx
was a result of Floridians traveling to Cuba to get their
relatives.   To prevent this from happening again, the Coast
Guard has mounted an aggressive public information campaign so
people know that vessels that appear to be bound to Cuba may be
stopped and boarded and may be seized. Individuals who violate
U.S. law will be prosecuted in appropriate circumstances.  As you
know, one boat was seized last week and the boat crew is in
     We have been able to manage the increased flow arriving from
Cuba during the last several days in an orderly way and without
disruption to the community.  We have increased our Immigration
and Naturalization Service and Community Relations Service
personnel.   26 INS agents have been reassigned to Key West. 
More are on their way -- and within 24 hours a total of 86 agents
will be specially assigned to manage these cases.      
     We have been ably assisted by voluntary agencies including
United States Catholic Conference Migration Service and Church
World Service and state and local officials.  
     Of the people who have arrived, 90% of the individuals have
been settled with relatives in the United States.  75% in Florida
-- and 15% in primarily New York and New Jersey.  The 10% with no
relatives in the United States are being placed outside of
     We will continue to monitor and assess the situation and
have intensified our work with other federal agencies to be able
to respond to all circumstances.