14ymedio, Havana, September 22, 2022 — On their journey through Honduras to the United States, Cubans are extorted by agents of the National Institute of Migration (INM). Migrants, regardless of whether they have an official safe conduct pass that authorizes them to lawfully transit, are forced to pay $20 at each checkpoint, according to a report by El Heraldo de Honduras.
A journalist from the Honduran newspaper infiltrated himself among the migrant groups and witnessed the abuses committed by the Migration authorities. The bus on which they were traveling was arrested, the agents came on, and the warning was direct: “Be quick, this is a checkpoint, each one of you is going to give 20 dollars, put it here,” said one of the uniformed personnel as he brought them a tray.
Another of the Cubans told the same Honduran journalist that at the Choluteca control station the police randomly selected their victims. He and two other compatriots were pointed to: “Pam, pam, pam. You, you and you. They took us to an office and said that every Cuban who passes by that checkpoint must leave 20 dollars even if he has a safe conduct pass,” he said.
This type of extortion had already been reported to 14ymedio last January by Arnaldo Rodríguez, a native of Artemisa. At that time, the Honduran police took away his passport and forced him to pay a fine of $218 to the INM. This sanction, which is established in article 104, paragraph 1, of the Migration and Aliens Law, was suspended as a form of amnesty last August.
Anselmo Mayedo, who left the island in 2021 and is currently in Mexico waiting for his brother and nephew to join him, told 14ymedio on Thursday that he took the Managua route and crossed through Honduras, where he was “threatened by the police” and suffered the theft of $400. The entry from Nicaragua to Honduras, he says, is made from Danlí, Trojes, Guasaule, La Bucana or El Porvenir.
“The group of six Cubans took a bus to get to El Porvenir. We got off and walked through the woods until we reached Trojes, where the police took us and confiscated our passports,” says Mayedo.
The INM reported that this year 50,059 Cuban migrants, 30,374 Venezuelans, 6,444 Ecuadorians and 3,918 Haitians have entered Honduras irregularly. They followed, in order, 1,000 from Colombia, 811 from India, 806 from the Dominican Republic, 720 from Senegal and 647 from Angola, among others, for a total of 101,392 irregular migrants.
Some 77.3% of migrants entered Honduras through the municipalities of Danlí and Trojes, department of El Paraíso, bordering Nicaragua. In recent months, El Paraíso has become a new route that migrants, mainly from Cuba, Venezuela and Haiti, are using to continue toward the United States.
Honduran authorities claim that the majority of migrants who enter the country do so irregularly, at “blind spots” through human traffickers, known as coyotes, who don’t always take them to the border with Guatemala.
Translated by Regina Anavy
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