14ymedio, Luz Escobar, Havana, April 21, 2020 – Some of the Argentine tourists who put up in the Tulipán Hotel in the Capital have, as of this Sunday, a new residence at the Tryp Habana Libre, if they can pay between 30 and 40 dollars US for a room, a price very much below the usual rate of 145 dollars.
If this is not possible, the travelers must declare themselves indigent and fill out a sworn statement in order to be transferred to the Hotel Neptuno-Tritón, in which case the Argentine government itself will assume the costs.
Until the end of this past week, the Tulipán sheltered a group of 195 sojourners from the South American country who found themselves stranded in the Island with the closing of air space of both nations, but the authorities have proceeded with the emptying-out and disinfecting of the hotel for its incorporation into the National Health System.
“We were told they were sending doctors from the brigades that are being sent abroad so that they could stay a few days before traveling. I understood it was a sort of quarantine,” a worker at the Hotel Tulipán reported to our paper. “Here we disinfected over the weekend and already are ready to receive them.”
During recent weeks it came to be somewhat usual to see the Argentine group in the areas of greenery around the establishment where they spent the hours doing exercises or playing soccer.
In an interview with Notícias around the end of March, Javier Figueroa, Argentine ambassador to Cuba, counted about 900 of his countrymen who found themselves trapped on the Island. “We are looking into special flights. The entry is forbidden, but not the exit from the Island,” he said.
The Embassy has announced the departure of a flight of Copa airlines for this Thursday. It’s the fourth chartered airplane for Argentines leaving Cuba, but there yet remain at least 400 more persons, an employee of the Embassy in Havana told 14ymedio.
The departure criteria the authorities have put together favor persons with greater clinical or epidemiological risk. “We know […] that there are people on medication and who have pathologies that put them at risk. These will be the absolute priority.”
The Argentine embassy has been providing information via its social media in which it has received various criticisms and complaints of families concerned about the slowness of the operation. The delegation defended itself, affirming that half already have been repatriated and the remainder were being “sheltered with food and all the medicines that can be had.”
Others have objected over these transfers which they consider to represent lack of prevention, in the context of present circumstances. “I’m in Cuba, my children are there in Cuba. They travelled well before the quarantine and are marooned there by necessity, under force majeure, due to the pandemic. They are workers who can’t afford to pay what you all propose […] it’s an obligation to care for and protect all of them and not to commit such a foul-up.”
The ambassador has rejected the criticisms and updated the situation of the Argentines who still are on the Island. “I am not going to accept talking about a ‘foul-up’. The State has evacuated 650 persons; another 156 are leaving this Thursday. No one is in the street. No one has been infected. No one has had a medical emergency, nor has been admitted to a hospital.”
Translated by: Pedro Antonio Gallet Gobin
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