Saturday, January 14, 2017

Packed up and desperate to leave, some Cubans now have no place to go

Packed up and desperate to leave, some Cubans now have no place to go

Havana resident Yeny Varela sobbed when she heard on national television
that the so-called wet foot, dry foot policy had ended effective

Repatriated to Cuba from Mexico in 2014 after a month-and-a-half trek
from Ecuador, she had finally saved up enough money to try again.

Now her hopes of leaving the island have dissipated.

"I did everything to get to the United States where I have my elderly
uncles. I went to the [U.S.] embassy and they denied my visa, I walked
from Ecuador and the Mexicans deported me. The last thing I had achieved
was a work contract in Mexico for which I paid thousands of dollars and
now I have lost everything," she said Friday by phone.

At 32, this young woman believes that the best years of her life are
falling behind.

"And now where am I going to go?" she said.

"They [the U.S. government] are doing that because they think they're
going to force change, but it's not going to happen," she said, adding
that although the population is fed up with the system, no one can
protest because they disappear.

Varela was among many Cubans who now see themselves stuck in an island
they desperately want to leave.

Rosa, 26, had sold her house in Villa Clara and all her belongings to
begin the treacherous journey by flying to Guyana and then trekking
across Central America to the U.S.-Mexico border, like thousands of
others have done.

"I'm devastated," she said. "My purpose was to leave the country to live
a little better. There are no opportunities here."

Now she has to start anew in Cuba.

It was not only those on the island who saw their plans to emigrate
evaporate. Throughout the continent, hundreds of Cubans who were heading
to the U.S. are now stranded.

"I never get into politics or anything, but Obama has been worse than
Pontius Pilate," said María Isabel, who lives in Argentina and was
preparing her trip to the United States. "Days before leaving the
presidency was not the time for him to have done such a thing.

"I've left everything behind," said the Central Cuba native. "I was just
taking a small step here to go on my way.".

María Isabel had been waiting three months for travel papers to continue
her journey through Mexico and ultimately reach the U.S. border.

"How many people have not risked or lost their lives!" she lamented.
"The degree of despair and frustration is so great that we can only cry."

Prior to Thursday's end of wet foot, dry foot, more than 54,000 Cubans
were allowed entry in the U.S.

Hundreds more of would-be migrants are spread across the Americas.

In Panama, more than 80 U.S.-bound Cubans are at a temporary shelter run
by Caritas, a non-governmental organization linked to the Catholic Church.

That country's director of migration, Javier Carrillo, already has
publicly announced that Cuban migrants must leave. Caritas deacon Victor
Luis Berrío said the organization would mediate so that deportations do
not occur.

While those in Panama wait, others like Yuniel Ramos are forging ahead.
He and 40 other Cubans are making their way through Honduras to reach
the U.S.-Mexico border.

"Something's got to be done with us, because to Cuba we will not
return," he said.


Source: Packed up and desperate to leave, some Cubans now have no place
to go | Miami Herald -

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