‘Every Country Except Cuba Has Evacuated Its Citizens From Haiti’

Several Cubans stranded in Haiti have recorded a video about their situation / Habana Roy/Facebook

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 5 April 2024 — With a return plan promised two weeks ago by the Government and still not completed, Cubans stranded in Haiti since February no longer want to “wait calmly.” A video published on social networks by a representative of the group attempts to pressure the Island’s authorities to take more forceful measures for their rescue. “All countries have already brought their citizens out of here. We are the only ones who are left,” says the collective.

The Cubans, who claim to number more than 250, confess to being desperate about the violent situation in the country, which does not allow them to leave their rental houses, in which they initially intended to be no more than a week. They are left without money or food, and the Cuban Government has not taken any action in the matter.

“It’s true that the Haitians have helped us, but we no longer have money, and we must pay for food, water, electricity. We have even contracted debts. That’s why we ask the Government of Cuba and the people who watch this video to help us get out of here,” said one of the Cubans.

“French, German and other citizens of the world have already been evacuated by their embassies. Only we remain, and we ask both Cuba and the international community to help us get out, because the situation is becoming more and more difficult,” stressed another of the travelers. “Our lives are in danger here.”

Another post on social networks of a woman who claims to be stranded in Port-au-Prince, questions whether the Government is really concerned about extracting its citizens from Haiti. “Is the Government unaware that there are pregnant women, people with chronic conditions and children living in this situation? Don’t they know that Cubans have been attacked here in these 41 days?” she asks. She reports that several relatives of those affected have gone to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in recent days to ask for help and information.

“This is not to create a political problem, but with the aim of raising our voices and seeing, Mr. President (Miguel Díaz-Canel), if we, Cuban citizens who want to return to our homeland alive, are also among your priorities,” she adds.

On March 20, the Cuban Embassy in Haiti assured that it had a plan to evacuate the Cubans – mostly mules who travel to buy merchandise with a tourist visa – who were trapped in the middle of the crossfire between the armed gangs and the police, which has kept the country in chaos since February 29, even causing the closure of the Toussaint Louverture airport in Port-au-Prince.

“This is not to create a political problem, but with the aim of raising our voices and seeing, Mr. President, if we, Cuban citizens who want to return to our homeland alive, are also among your priorities”  

“The representative of Cubana de Aviación, a member of the Cuban state mission in Haiti, has established telephone and face-to-face contact with the 32 rental houses where most of the Cuban passengers of the flights canceled by the Sunrise Airways company are accommodated,” the diplomatic headquarters reported at the time.

Likewise, the statement assured that the Embassy was in contact with Barbara Joseph, a commercial specialist for Sunrise Airways, with which those affected traveled. “The flights will be made to two destinations: Camagüey and Santiago de Cuba. Passengers from other provinces will be transported by Transtur busses to their places of origin,” the note said.

Those were, however, the last clarifications received by the Cubans trapped in Port-au-Prince.

The situation for Cubans in Haiti took a critical turn in February, when a Sunrise Airways plane bound for Cuba was hit in a shooting. That day, for security reasons, air traffic was closed, preventing the return of the Cubans who were in the country. In addition to them, there are another 2,000 Cubans in Haiti “under different conditions,” including health workers on an official mission and diplomatic personnel, said Cuba’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bruno Rodríguez.

This same Thursday, the Government of Mexico announced the end of evacuation operations by sea of 34 of its nationals. The same thing happened this week with Peru and the Dominican Republic, and in previous days with many other countries that have even closed their diplomatic headquarters in Haiti. Only Cubans are still trapped on the island, waiting for a response from their government.

Translated by Regina Anavy


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