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Cubans are arriving to the US in record numbers. Smugglers are profiting from their exodus

In March, more than 32,000 Cubans arrived at the US-Mexico border, almost twice the number from the previous month, according to US Customs and Border Protection data.

Claudia, who requested her real name not be used in this story for her safety, said she decided to leave Cuba after the July 2021 widespread protests over power outages, food shortages and a lack of civil liberties, boiled over.

The Cuban government said the protests were orchestrated by Washington to topple the communist government. Prosecutors have charged over 700 people with sedition and civil disobedience in the largest mass trials since the beginning of the Cuban revolution.

“I was done after July 11,” Claudia told CNN. “I am leaving for my son, for his future. I spent all day waiting in lines so he can have yogurt. I work at a [government] hospital for $50 a month. I basically work for free.”

Cubans that have just crossed the US-Mexico border huddle near a fire in Yuma, Arizona in February.

After pretending to…

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