In recent years, many Cubans who want to escape the tyranny of the Castro dictatorship and come to the U.S. have attempted to flee through Mexico. However, the Mexican government is notoriously unfriendly towards illegal immigrants (ironic, isn’t it?) and since 2008, have agreements with the Castro dictatorship to curtail the flow of Cubans attempting to flee oppression. This leaves the unfortunate Cubans who are detained by Mexican authorities with few options and in difficult and miserable conditions in that country.
MEXICO CITY – Some 250 Cubans have been detained in difficult, dubious conditions at the Tapachula migrant station in southeastern Mexico awaiting judgment on their legal status, the independent National Human Rights Commission, or CNDH, said.
The commission, Mexico’s equivalent of an ombud’s office, said Friday in a note that during the last two months it has seen an increase in the number of Cuban immigrants lodged at migrant stations of the National Migration Institute, or INM, particularly in Tapachula, Chiapas state.
He said that on May 8 some 248 Cuban migrants were found at that station, of whom 169 were men, 74 women, two little girls and three boys.
The document said that CNDH personnel had made several visits to the station, where they received complaints from the Cubans about deficient medical care, overcrowding and lack of information about their legal status.
The visitors from the commission inspected the Cuban migrants’ dormitories in the men’s facility, “where they observed overcrowding and a prevalent lack of beds or mats to sleep on, plus a number of people suffering respiratory ailments.”
Some Cubans also complained that INM personnel discriminated against some of them because of their sexual orientation.
According to the commission, personnel of the autonomous organization said that, during a visit on May 9, the Cubans tried to attract attention by banging plastic bottles, shouting “Freedom!” and complaining they hadn’t eaten. The situation was remedied over the next few hours and the ruckus subsided.
For their part, INM officials told Efe that the Cubans are being held at the station in the extreme southeast of Mexico on the Guatemalan border until the procedures are completed that are required by the 2008 migration agreement between the two countries.
The memorandum of accord says that Cuba will accept the return of its citizens who have entered Mexico illegally or have an irregular immigration status inside Mexican territory “with the exception of those authorized to travel to the United States.”
Cuba also agrees to accept the return of its citizens “who have emigrated directly and illegally to countries of Central America and are in Mexican territory illegally, provided they are found within a space (of 90 days) counted from their departure” from the Caribbean island.
INM officials said that the Cubans, 30 of whom were taken on Friday to the migrant station in Acayucan, Veracruz state, had no wish to remain in Mexico and were awaiting word from the Cuban Consulate about who among them will be accepted back.
They added that meanwhile the migrants are being fed and cared for at the migration center, and denied stories in the press about the Cubans being on a hunger strike.
For his part, Cuban Deputy Consul Wilson Bolaños said that Consul Maria Sanchez met the day before with the head of the INM, Salvador Beltran, “and at no time did they speak of a hunger strike, only that there were 250 Cubans lodged at the Tapachula station.”