U.S. Warns Of Military Blockade Of Cuba -- At Least 1,058 Refugees Rescued From Rafts By Swamped Coast Guard

MIAMI - As the United States struggled with a growing sea of Cuban immigrants, the Clinton administration raised the possibility yesterday of a military blockade of the island.

White House Chief of Staff Leon Panetta said a total blockade of Cuba was "one of the options that we would look at in the future as we see whether or not Castro begins to make some legitimate movements toward democracy."

Among other developments as the Cuban Crisis of 1994 unfolded:

-- The Coast Guard plucked at least 1,058 people from rafts and inner tubes yesterday. A revised count raised Saturday's rescues to 1,189 - an unprecedented number. The year's total so far: 11,314.

-- Swamped by rescue missions, the Coast Guard summoned reinforcements from as far away as Boston and from the Navy. "We're calling in everything that's available," said Lt. Cmdr. Jim Howe, a spokesman who called the operation "one of the biggest ever." Critics demanded even more resources to prevent untold thousands of deaths.

-- Five Coast Guard cutters steamed to the Navy's base at Guantanamo Bay with 1,105 Cuban refugees, the first to be detained there under a historic change in U.S. policy.

-- The State Department and the Pentagon, confronted by rumors that potential Cuban refugees were approaching Guantanamo Bay by land and by sea, monitored events at the base. They said the reports appeared to be untrue, but they expressed concern that it could happen.

-- One of the final charter flights to Havana, banned by the U.S. on Saturday, hastily returned to Miami after a bomb threat. No bomb was found. The flight was rescheduled for today.

Cuba has been under a U.S. economic embargo for three decades, but many other countries continue to trade with his regime. Presumably, a blockade - if eventually imposed - would terminate that trade. It also could be considered an act of war.