Cuban Journalist Held at the Bogota Airport is Given a Safe Conduct

Yailén Insúa Alarcón and her partner, Boris Luis Ramos Salgado, at the El Dorado airport in Bogotá (Colombia). (Courtesy)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Yoani Sanchez, Havana, 16 February 2022 — The same day that the activist Anamely Ramos was prevented from boarding a plane to Cuba, the journalist Yailén Insúa Alarcón celebrated that a judge ruled in her favor not to be returned from Bogotá to Havana. Both women are part of a migratory drama, the arbitrariness of a power that, as punishment, both confines within the national borders and expels from the Island.

“A judge has ruled in our favor, so that we can leave El Dorado airport in the next 48 hours,” Insúa tells 14ymedio from the Colombian capital. “A few minutes ago our lawyer notified us that the judge had issued a ruling for us to wait for our request for asylum in Colombian territory.”

The former director of Cuban Television’s Information System, who has lived 11 days of ordeal in the airport facilities, with the fear of being deported to the Island at any moment, only has words of gratitude: “Colombia has already begun to welcome us like we are its children, although the process can take up to two years.

The couple is still at the airport, but not for long. “Our lawyer is fighting to see if they can get us out today, but if it can’t be now, tomorrow I’ll be able to sleep in a bed,” she details. “Bogotá is unknown, I have great expectations, I still don’t know what I am going to do, but I have had the support of many colleagues and I am sure that everything will turn out well.”

“We are going to make our lives here, in this city that is going to take us in,” she stresses. “All my colleagues know what has happened and they have given me incredible support and solidarity, this guild is very large and has reached out to me.”

Her family in Havana still doesn’t know. A couple of calls to her mother, a teacher and school principal, and the father of her 13-year-old son, only yielded the sound of unanswered rings. “I think they will find out through the press,” she points out, aware of the telecommunications problems that hamper contact with Cuba.

In the similarities and differences with the case of Anamely Ramos, Insúa is conclusive: “There is a common axis, which is the Cuban regime and its long tentacles, which either expel you from the country or deny you entry, because we citizens who express opinions are like a thorn to them.”

“They are looking for a way to put together that immense repressive domino game they have and to move the tiles as they please,” Insúa points out. “Anamely Ramos is an example of a woman, one of the most courageous that Cuba has given us in a long time, and I know that this will not discourage her. As soon as I saw what happened to her, I sent the news to our lawyer so he knew what the Cuban regime is capable of.”

To fight against it, she believes, journalism is urgent. “I have seen many stories of Cubans stranded in this airport looking to leave for Nicaragua and other places and I think these stories have to be told, they are very necessary.”

When she leaves the airport, today or tomorrow, Insúa has one goal: “enjoy the sun… In this time I have only seen it through the windows and I want to feel it on my face and on my skin. At last I am going to breathe the air of freedom.”


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