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Isla Mujeres fishermen protest Cuban vessels in Mexican waters

Isla Mujeres, Q.R. — A group of fishermen from Isla Mujeres headed out in their boats Tuesday morning in protest of Cuban vessels in their waters.

A group of fishermen, most of whom were from Isla Mujeres, sat about 12 nautical miles east of the island ready to protest the arrival of Cuban fishermen.

Local island fishermen were alerted to the presence of Cuban vessels fishing in Mexican waters earlier this season, however, when the group headed out to sea Tuesday, they did not encounter anyone.

“There are people on Isla Mujeres who have had contact with them in some way and they were warned, so now today, we no longer find them in the area,” said Raciel Rivero, president of Patria y Progreso.

He says evidently they were alerted about the mobilization of the local fishermen and left, adding that “Until yesterday, they were still here, but evidently they were alerted by someone and they decided to flee to avoid the confrontation with the fishermen of Isla Mujeres.”

With banners in hand, the fishermen demonstrated on board their own boats. He said that the fishing fleet of Cuba that arrives in this area is large.

“We are talking about at least 16 small boats that are descended from larger boats and with a range of at least 15 days or up to a month,” he said. Rivero explained that up until today, the Cuban fishermen were here, but they knew that the press and some authorities were coming, so they decided to raise anchor and set sail.

He said that unfortunately international treaties are not entirely reciprocal, since within Cuba, there are strict rules on their resources, which is why they come to the limits within Mexico and wipe out everything in their path.

The president of the Federation of Fisheries Cooperatives of Quintana Roo, Baltazar Gómez Catzín, said that the island fishermen will have all the support of the federation and stressed that the Cuban’s were alerted to Tuesday’s protest, and therefore, were not found fishing in the area.