MIAMI, Oct. 9 (UPI) -- Cuban activists say the stalled economy has caused a surge in emigration from their home island to the United States.
Statistics compiled by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and El Nuevo Herald showed about 1,700 Cubans either landed in Florida or were intercepted at sea in the 2011 fiscal year compared to 831 in the previous period.
The increase was the first spike since fiscal 2007 when interdictions topped 19,000.
"The economy is worse each day," said Elizardo Sanchez, head of the Havana-based Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation. "Less money, less food, less everything."
Key West businessman Arturo Cobo told the Herald it appeared the Cuban government was not taking an aggressive stance on halting the outflow, which he said included a higher number of political dissidents.