Miami The number of Cubans attempting to cross the Florida Straits has fallen by more than half, putting 2009 on track to be perhaps the lowest for migration from the communist island in almost a decade.
Experts say it’s hard to pinpoint what has caused such a drastic drop but attribute it to combination of factors, with the U.S. economic downturn topping the list. They also point to stepped-up U.S. law enforcement against smugglers, eased U.S. restrictions on Cuban-Americans who want to travel to the island and send money to family there and a clampdown by the Cuban government.
“To be honest, there’s really no way of telling. This isn’t a science,” said Andy Gomez, a senior fellow at the University of Miami’s Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies.