of Cubans using a 1959 Buick car to sail to the US have been turned
back by coastguards, say relatives.
The Buick was stopped 16 kilometres from the
The bright green converted Buick- carrying 11 people - was
stopped on Tuesday during its 90 mile (140 kilometre) journey to
This is the second attempt by at least two of the crew to make a
break for the US in a vintage-car-turned-boat.
Last July, they were caught sailing the stretch of water in a
1951 Chevrolet pick-up truck equipped with floats.
Marciel Basanta Lopez and Luis Grass Rodriguez were trying to
pilot the Buick with four adults and five children when they were
caught 10 miles (16 kms) from Marathon in Florida Keys.
Relatives said they set off on Monday by driving into the sea
from a beach 20 miles (30 km) east of Havana.
Perez Grass, a nephew of Luis Grass, said it cost $4,000 to convert
the Buick , which was powered by its original V-8 motor.
At least two of the Cubans used a Chevy truck
"They sealed the doors and added a double bottom, steel plates
for a bow and a propeller," he said.
He and other relatives pleaded with the United States not to
"The United States should have a little bit of compassion and
value the determination of these people," he said. "They are clean
people. All they want to do is live and work."
US coast guards refused to discuss the incident, saying it was
not their policy to comment on cases until they are resolved.
Cuban activists in exile, Arturo Cobo and Joe Garcia, executive
director of the Cuban American National Foundation, say the 11
people are being returned to Cuba.
Usually, Cubans caught at sea are repatriated. Those who make it
to US shores are generally allowed to stay.
Last July, Marciel Basanta Lopez and Luis Grass Rodriguez were
among 12 sent back to Cuba after they failed to reach Florida shores
in their Chevy pick-up.
They said at the time that it took just six hours to convert the
truck, and they planned to drive it right on to the sand once they
arrived at Key West.