Cuban and Central American Migrants Clash on Mexico’s Southern Border

Between January and November 2020, 4,893 Cubans had requested asylum in Mexico, according to data published by the Comar. (News from Chiapas)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Lorey Saman, Mexico, 7 January 2021 — A group of Cubans stranded in Tapachula, in the state of Chiapas in southern Mexico, got into a fight this Tuesday in front of the main entrance of the offices of the National Institute of Migration (INM), when they tried complete the paperwork for a humanitarian visa that allows them enter the country legally and continue their journey to the northern border to request asylum in the United States.

According to an account published in Chiapas News, the confrontation, which involved more than 1,000 Central American and Cuban migrants, began with angry shouts of “they do not want to respect the line, back, back, respect the line.”

The newspaper details that there was an exchange of “bumps and scratches” during the discussion to obtain a position in line. Many migrants who had started their paperwork on December 23 had to wait until this week to complete it because the offices closed for several days.

Fidel Hernández, a Salvadoran who was standing in line, pointed out that the Cubans had drawn up a long list of hundreds of them and that they were not allowing Central Americans to enter. He said that in the confrontation there were several injured and that the Cubans also hit each other.

A week earlier, Chiapas News reported that around 400 migrants from Haiti, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, Costa Rica and Cuba remained at the 21st Century Migration Station in Tapachula without optimal sanitary conditions due to the pandemic.

When people who are detained in the federal station can leave, they request refugee status before the Mexican Commission for Refugee Assistance (Comar). The process allows them to legally stay for 45 days in the city and in that time they can appeal to the Mexican immigration authorities far a humanitarian visa.

Cubans continue to enter Mexico from the south despite the closing of the borders of the Central American countries due to the pandemic. Between January and November 2020, 4,893 had requested asylum, according to data published by Comar. The island is surpassed only by Honduras with 13,404 applicants and by the 5,314 people from Haiti. In that period, only 670 Cubans successfully achieved recognition as refugees.


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