14ymedio, Havana, 26 February 2018 — Several Cubans who remain trapped in the Amsterdam-Schiphol Airport after requesting political asylum have asked the Dutch Government and Pope Francis to mediate before the Immigration Service of that country to grant them refugee status. In January the Dutch authorities imposed a transit visa requirement for Cubans that has left travelers from the Island in legal limbo.
Through a petition on the change.org platform, the initiators of the initiative also complain to other institutions such as the European Union and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees that the “more than three hundred migrants” who are in this situation “are fleeing repression and violations of the most fundamental rights of every human being by the Cuban authorities.”
Among those who were waiting to obtain asylum or be deported to the island was Victor Manuel Dueñas, a contributor to the Havana Times and an LGBTI activist. “They treat us like second-class citizens,” Dueñas told the press a few weeks ago about the treatment of the police by members of this group that he describes as “sex workers.”
Many of the travelers who have taken shelter in the airport while trying to formalize their situation left Havana for Moscow at the end of last January, but the arrival of their flight in Holland coincided with the implementation the transit visa requirement for Cuban nationals.
The growing number of Cubans who requested asylum in the Netherlands in recent months led to the embassy that country to impose this new visa requirement on all travelers who, from the island, make a stopover in Dutch territory with a final destination in a third country outside the Schengen area.
The new transit visa required by the Netherlands is priced at 71 CUC and “will allow the authorities to better evaluate the travel intentions of visa applicants,” the Dutch Foreign Minister said in a statement.
Spain has already imposed this measure and requires transit visas for island residents who stopover in that country’s airports while traveling to destinations outside Schengen area. France, another of the most frequent transshipment points from Cuba, has not yet imposed this requirement.
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