Between Ukraine, Poland and Belarus, 35 Cubans Aimlessly in Search of the European Dream

The group of 18 Cubans, of the 35 who are stranded, on the border between Poland and Belarus. (Mario Felix Lleonart)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Madrid, 15 March 2022 — Elizabeth Acosta Rengifo left for Russia “fleeing from Cuba” with her husband Yuniel Santos Sánchez and their children, Ezequiel, 7 years old, and Génesis, 9 years old. The war surprised them while they were traveling through Ukraine towards the European Union and they had to head north until they reached Belarus. Now they are part of a group of some thirty Cubans who are stranded on the border, after being expelled by the Polish police.

“One of the border soldiers who helped me from the beginning, I even asked him for medicine and he gave it to me, he told me: ‘Welcome to the European Union’, he even cried. ‘It has been a pleasure meeting you and helping you,’ he told me. trembling. Acosta is speaking from the Belarusian border where, he adds, it is very cold. The group is currently made up of 18 Cubans after splitting up, although initially it was made up of 35.

The migrants accuse the Polish police of deceiving them and removing them from European territory after the soldiers had assured them that they could stay and told them how to do so. “The border soldiers who picked us up don’t know what the police did either,” Acosta stresses.

“I understood everything, in fact the team’s translator was me,” continues the migrant, who speaks English. “It was explained what they were going to do with us at the checkpoint and the police did the opposite. They got us out of the car, threw our packages on the ground, raised the gate and told us to leave. That was it,” she lamented.

Acosta remembers and cites the exact kilometer at which the Police opened the border fence with Belarus and left them outside the European Union despite the fact that, he says, he begged them and asked them to have mercy and that they needed humanitarian aid. “They told us that was not their problem.”

Acosta’s family is originally from Villa Clara and he contniues along with three other families without knowing what to do. From the United States, Cuban pastor Mario Félix Lleonart tries to pull strings to get Poland to accept them as refugees.

In the last three weeks, since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began on February 24, the European country has received 1.6 million Ukrainians, half of the 2.8 million who have fled their country, although the last figure is from two days ago and the numbers do nothing but increase. In a country overwhelmed and devoted to receiving its neighbors at war, Cubans and other migrants have taken a back seat.

This Sunday, the director of Consular Affairs and Cuban Residents Abroad, Ernesto Soberón, stated that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is holding talks with Warsaw to locate the 35 Cubans who are stranded on the border and will try to get them out of there, but nothing has been achieved so far.

In an official note, the Foreign Ministry said that there are Cubans who have arrived in Poland, Slovakia, Romania and Hungary from Ukraine and with whom they maintain contact. According to their data, 250 citizens of the island returned from Russia after the beginning of the invasion, or the “military operation of that nation in Ukraine,” in the words of the Cuban ruling party.


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