A small flotilla of Cuban exiles sailed near the communist-controlled island nation on Saturday to memorialize dozens who drowned trying to flee the country after their boats were rammed by Cuban government vessels. Pilots also dropped smoke markers in tribute.

Four boats organized by the exile group Democracy Movement brought 41 floating crosses to be dropped in the water along with roses and carnations at a site near Cuba's 12-mile territorial limit, a memorial to 41 Cubans who died four years ago trying to escape Fidel Castro's rule.Three planes flown by members of the exile group Brothers to the Rescue passed over the flotilla before dropping six smoke markers above the spot where four compatriots were shot out of the skies by Cuban jet fighters in February 1996.