The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Migrants Drown off Florida

Jan 31, 2022

On Tuesday, January 25, a boater spotted a man clinging to the hull of a capsized boat off the coast of Florida. He was the only survivor among the 40 people he reported had attempted to cross together from the Bahamas in a small boat that got caught by a storm. The Coast Guard found the bodies of five others and presumed the rest had also drowned.

While their numbers are dwarfed by those trying to cross by land—the border patrol reports 1.7 million “encounters” with migrants in 2021—the Coast Guard reports that the numbers of people trying to get to the U.S. by sea are also rising dramatically—they detained more than 3,200 in 2021. And for every person detained, who knows how many drowned at sea without a trace? Less than a week earlier, at least 31 people were rescued after their boat capsized on a similar attempt to get from the Bahamas to Florida.

Off the coast of Florida, most of these migrants are originally from Haiti, the Dominican Republic, or Cuba. But even more have been detained off the coast of California, where many migrants come from Central America or even further away in South America, or even Africa.

U.S. officials blame the smugglers who profit by packing migrants into flimsy, unsafe vessels. But the smugglers are small fry.

In the last few years, people all over the world have been pushed into worsening poverty by the economic crisis and unending wars—this is why so many people are fleeing their impoverished home countries. U.S. capitalism, which loots the wealth of the poor countries, gun in hand, is the main force behind the decay in living standards for a large share of the world’s people. And U.S. border and immigration policies, enforced under Democrats and Republicans equally, drive desperate people to take these risky leaps into the water. They are the true killers.