**Cuba Experiences Unprecedented Exodus as Five Die, 12 Missing in Boat Sinking**
Five people have died and twelve are missing after an improvised boat carrying Cuban migrants attempting to reach the United States sank in the waters near Cárdenas on January 24th, as reported by the official Cuban newspaper Cubadebate. Witnesses indicated the incident happened due to strong waves.
Border Guard Troops rescued eleven of the individuals while two naval units responded to the call for help. All individuals involved were from the municipality of Cárdenas, located 115 kilometers east of Havana, and left Cuba illegally on January 23.
Since late 2021, a visa waiver in Nicaragua has allowed many Cubans to try to reach the United States through Central America. This, added to the frequent sea crossings of the Florida Straits—140 km-long waterway between United States and Cuba—have documented 5, 321 arrivals by sea to the United States in the last 12 months.
In response to the mounting migratory crisis, Washington has imposed new border control measures at the beginning of January, and also set up a program to allow 30,000 nationals per month from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Venezuela.
The Cuban government, facing a grave economic crisis, is currently seeing an unprecedented exodus of citizens due to the declining standards of living in the island.