14ymedio, Havana, 12 October 2022 — On Tuesday, a group of 50 Cubans took the driver of their tourist bus hostage in the Mexican state of Veracruz, so as not to be arrested by officers of the National Guard. The officers, who intended to deliver them to the National Institute of Migration, intercepted the vehicle on a section of the Transisthmic road, which connects the municipalities of Sayula de Alemán with Acayucan.
“In Acayucan they deport you; we’re not going there,” the Cubans warned the National Guard and said they intended to continue their journey to Mexicali and cross to the United States from there. One of the migrants said that each Cuban paid 2,500 pesos (75 dollars) for transport.
An officer confirmed to 14ymedio that there were several children in the group and that “although the people presented residence permits and free transit passes, these were for the states of Chiapas and Oaxaca.”
By insisting that their situation be resolved by Migration, the Cubans cornered the driver and removed the keys to the bus. In support of the National Guard, other vehicles arrived, but this further bothered those detained. After five hours of negotiations, they were allowed to return to the state of Oaxaca, with a warning that a recurrence of transit without permission would be penalized.
Migration did not issue any report on the incident, nor details about the arrests, this Tuesday, of 29 other migrants after a pursuit in the city of Córdoba.
Last April, lawyer José Luis Pérez Jiménez complained that the arrest of Cubans and their internment in the Acayucan Migration centre became a way of raising money for the coffers of the officials.
Wilmer Mantos, a 27-year-old Cuban who was in detention in Acayucan, told 14ymedio that this place “is a prison where human rights don’t exist: they take away your cell phone, your papers, and you eat because you’re hungry, but the food is rotten and there’s almost no water or medical assistance.”
In their transit through Mexico to reach the United States, Cubans have had to face arbitrary detentions, violations of their human rights and extortion. On the last day of September, a group of 14 migrants from the Island reported that a senior Migration official demanded $70,000 from them to not be deported.
The Cubans were detained in Campeche and transferred to Mexico City, and despite having legal protection, they were detained for several days. They are currently on their way to the U.S. border.
Nearly 200,000 Cubans have arrived by land in the United States and more than 6,000 by sea since October 2021.
Translated by Regina Anavy
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