14ymedio, Natalia López Moya, Havana, 6 January 2022 – “We want a flight date,” dozens of Cubans shouted at the top of their lungs as they gathered this Thursday morning in front of the office of the Venezuelan airline Conviasa in Havana, which is in charge of selling flights between Havana and Managua.
As the days go by, the desperation of Cubans to find a ticket and be able to fly to Nicaragua grows. “Today we almost broke the windows of this place,” says one of the customers who, filled with resentment, spent the afternoon in front of the office located in the Miramar Business Center. The man in his 30s, along with other people, continued to sit outside the building.
“Here you have to come every day, sir, they are going to add flights and more flights,” says another woman sitting a few meters away, very hopeful that she will soon fly to Managua.
“We are not selling tickets. We have reported that sales are suspended for the moment, it is what we have reported all the time,” said an airline employee on Thursday, adding that at the moment they do not know when the tickets will go on sale again. She assumes, she said, that “until the reprogramming progresses,” although she also commented that company authorities in Caracas, Venezuela, were meeting to “see what solution they could come up with for the problem.”
On December 6, in the same commercial office, Conviasa employees specified that starting on January 1 they would begin to sell tickets for the Havana-Managua-Havana route normally. Then they detailed that prices ranged from $500 to $1,000 in freely convertible currency (MLC).
The frequencies were scheduled for Wednesdays and Saturdays, with the first flight leaving on December 15. In the first trips they were accommodating “people who had already bought the ticket” before flights were suspended due to the pandemic, said an employee. “In case of no-show, tickets will be sold to those in the normal line.”
Customers, looking forward to January 1 and to better organize themselves have, since then, began signing up for waiting lists started by Conviasa staff in mid-December.
Representatives of the airline reported that at the moment the website is not selling tickets from Havana and that they will only be able to make the connection through Panama City-Managua-Panama City. This newspaper was able to verify that there are flights available between these two cities on Mondays and Saturdays in February for a cost of 750 dollars which includes a 10 kilo carry-on and a hold luggage weighing 23 kilos.
“We come every day and this here remains hot,” says another customer who was staying in in front of Conviasa Thursday afternoon. “And because of what happened today they even put agents in plain clothes to take care of this [the office]”, but that will not prevent him from continuing to search for information and from being able to buy his ticket, he assures.
Since, on November 23, the Nicaraguan government established a free visa for Cubans , getting a ticket to Managua has been the main concern of many who see, in the Central American country, the escape route in the midst of the severe political crisis and economic activity that crosses the Island and that has deepened in the last two years.
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