Bolivia’s Santa Cruz — Outside of Havana’s Jose Marti International Airport, a crowd of excited Cuban residents Waiting for a trip To Nicaragua, which is regularly occurring due to the rapid increase in flights and sporadic cancellations that started in November last year.
This scene depicts a vivid portrait of people who are willing to do anything to escape the country’s communist regime. This is now made easier by Nicaragua. Nicaragua opened the door on 22 November, withdrawing Cuba’s visa requirements and accelerating the tsunami of immigrants to Central American countries and ultimately to the southern border of the United States.
Socialist President Daniel Ortega has begun the process of abandoning the documents required for Cubans to enter Nicaragua in 2019. However, on January 12, the airline increased the number of direct routes between the two countries, making it cheaper and easier to escape from Cuba.
Prior to January this year, migrants traveled to Colombia to buy a second ticket to arrive in Nicaragua or deal with limited direct combat options from Havana and canceled due to oversold. I had to take the risk that I could be.
Evidence suggests that this is already affecting the existing immigration crisis at the besieged border shared by the United States and Mexico.
Forward and upward
Prior to Ortega’s relaxation of immigration requirements in 2019, the number of land encounters with Cuban immigrants by the US Border Guard at the South Frontier was less than 200 per year, with only 74 recorded in 2018. But the following year, the number surged to. 11,645 encounters..
“The purpose is to leave Cuba, go to Nicaragua and flood the southern border of the United States,” said Dr. Orlando Gutierrez Boronato, coordinator of the Cuba Resistance Parliament, a democratic coalition of human rights groups. Told to.
On January 15, Honduras police arrested 59 Cuban and Nicaraguan migrants traveling north with four traffickers known as Coyote throughout the region. According to a police statement, the coyote was taking immigrants north to the United States.
The collaborative efforts between the Ortega government and the Cuban communist government, now led by President Miguel Mario Diaz Cannell, show a dramatic change in attitudes towards Cubans who want to flee.
In the 1990s, Cuban authorities Considered it a treason Even trying to leave the country illegally can be punished with up to three years in prison.
In the worst-case scenario, the state could execute someone to escape the communist island nation.
“Now I have a lot of complaints about my house, they [Cuban government] I just want to get rid of people, “Boronato said.
He added that protests against Cuba’s communist regime haven’t diminished since last summer’s historic protests. In December, opposition supporters of the Vicente Méndez movement in Havana protested and demanded the release of political prisoners from the July 2021 demonstration.
From the weekend of January 15th, signs and posters began to be posted in public places nationwide with the message “El Paro Va”. Boronato said the phrase for the ongoing resistance to the government is the Cuban slang phrase, “It’s the day we stand up.”
Fernando Menendez, a Latin American relations analyst, told The Epoch Times that he had little incentive to leave Cuba legally. “If you go to an embassy and apply for a visa, it can take a long time to be granted, and when the government finds you are about to leave, they will block you altogether.”
Menendez explained that after the Cuban government learned that residents were about to move to another country, they would take their jobs, distribution cards, and the few remaining means of survival.
“Even your family and neighbors stop talking to you. At that point no one can afford to deal with you. It’s too dangerous,” he added.
Cuba has no future
In a long line from Havana, high expectations and oversold flights, 27-year-old Anton Garcia was able to secure a ticket to Managua, the capital of Nicaragua, last month.
“No one wants to leave their family behind, but I want to live as well as survive,” Garcia told The Epoch Times.
Even when he graduated from a young college with a bachelor’s degree in engineering, Garcia said the outlook for work in Cuba was pretty bleak, not to mention the dream of owning a house or starting his own family. rice field. After last year’s national protest, Garcia knew it was time to leave.
“But it’s not easy. You spend months getting money. You have to sell everything you own just to buy a ticket,” he said.
The average minimum wage under the control of a communist regime for decades is $ 87 per month, which is the government’s January 2021 salary increase to combat the poverty and economic struggle caused by the pandemic. It reflects.
When asked if he plans to join a caravan for those who wish to head to the US border, Garcia simply replied, “Maybe someday.”
Meanwhile, Garcia will repair the motorcycle in cash in the Jorge Dimitrov district of Managua.
Menendez said those leaving Cuba for Nicaragua would eventually head north for the United States, offering immigrants who chose to stay in Central American countries. Insisted that there was nothing.
“Nicaragua is basically run by Cuba,” Boronato reiterated the same sentiment.
Both countries share the legacy of socialism achieved through the guerrilla war interrupted by a long-term dictatorship and high poverty rates.
To date, Cuba remains one of the major countries in Latin America. Immigrant packing For the United States.