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

Coast Guard:
Fugitive Slave Catchers on Boats

Sep 18, 2023

The U.S. Coast Guard seized more than 12,000 Haitian and Cuban migrants from broken-down boats in the Caribbean last year, and many thousands again so far this year. The Coast Guard also reports having captured, detained, and deported people fleeing from Albania, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Kazakhstan, and Venezuela so far this year in the Caribbean.

A Coast Guard commander wrote, “Migrants are housed in tents on the cutter flight deck. It is not uncommon for hundreds of migrants to be squeezed on a flight deck … often accompanied by animals. Each Coast Guard ship’s population of hundreds of temporary migrants live, eat, sleep, defecate … in this one spot, sometimes for days on end…. There is no privacy. Toilets are hung on the edge of the flight deck to be shared by hundreds of people.” He added, “Agitated and angry migrants intentionally clog toilets, throw feces, urinate anywhere, injure themselves, and hurl demands…. These operations are, in no small way, akin to combat.”

The Coast Guard sometimes detains migrants temporarily on a facility in Guantanamo naval base in Cuba. The base housed as many as 45,000 Cubans and Haitians at one point in 1994. Now it allegedly has a much lower capacity of 120, which the White House wants to expand to 400. But the Department of Homeland Security requested tents capable of detaining up to 1,000 Haitians.

Instead of helping people trying to make a better life for themselves and their children, the U.S. military is tasked with arresting them, mistreating them, and delivering them back to the poverty and violence they tried to escape.