14ymedio, Ángel Salinas, Mexico, 13 January 2022 — “It’s a scam,” Facebook users warned Roberto when he asked how reliable the announcement that Andrés Ramiro Naranjo Pardo uploaded to social networks might be, in which he offered to cross migrants to the United States. “I’ll pass you to the US with ’parole’* included,” read this Cuban who is together with his wife in the Mexican state of Baja California.
“Don’t believe anything,” Internet user Ana María warned him. “He has several profiles and mobile numbers. He is a fraud.” Ana María shared her case with 14ymedio: “When you’re desperate to leave Cuba, you look for the ways and this guy knew how to deceive us. He sold a family member an appointment at the embassy. It was all a lie. I don’t know how we believed.”
Naranjo, who presented himself as a native of Havana, made two deposits of $3,000 to the BanCoppel account 4169160813668085. “When we looked for him to make a demand he wanted more money. He is a very skilled scammer,” warns Ana María.
Yanet, another of the scammers, was contacted by the same scammer through the same social network. He introduced himself as Andrés Naranjo and said he worked at the National Migration Institute (INM). He offered to transfer her to Mexico from Guyana, where she works in a hospital.
For the paperwork, Naranjo asked Yanet for $5,000. “It is very difficult to leave this way, there is a lot of jungle and dangers, that’s why I shared his name in a group of Cubans, and a girl alerted me to this guy and others asked me not to do any business” with him.
The person identified as Andrés Ramiro Naranjo Pardo has at least 20 profiles on Facebook. In some he appears as a naturalized Mexican, in others as a lawyer, teacher, referee and even soccer coach. In March 2021, he stated that every weekend he shared barbecues with technical directors of Mexican soccer: “Miguel Herrera, José el Profe Cruz, Rafael Puente (the son), Francisco el Gatillero Palencia.”
A migration source tells this newspaper that the people who have been victims of this trickster “are innocent” by sending money without guarantees. “They can flood the networks with accusations, the unfortunate thing is that this subject is laughing because he knows that we cannot act against him. Mexico does not sell visas. The way he has stolen them is even childish.”
In October, a Facebook user identified as Sombra de Luz denounced Naranjo in the group Foreigners in Mexico. “He is an unscrupulous thief,” they stressed, saying that every time he scams he changes his phone number and profile. “He is discrediting the Mexican embassy in Havana by saying that he has contacts there and that he can get a visa in Cuba for Mexico.”
Over time, in another Facebook group, Anielis Torres exposed Naranjo as “a scammer” who even offered “apartment rentals and offered work to women.” He scammed the woman from Sancti Spiritus with the promise of giving her documents to process her visa. “Today, before 10 pm they are delivered to me, we stay late-night, can’t eat yearnings, thanks and greetings,” was one of the last messages received before he disappeared.
Internet user David AlBaqq shared another of Naranjo’s announcements on the networks on December 4, in which he asked “truly interested people” to send him 10% of the cost of the $6,000 visa to a Banco Azteca account. “The rest of the money is paid after being authorized by the Mexican consul in Havana.”
Currently, Andrés Ramiro Naranjo Pardo appears on social networks as a retired worker from the Petróleos Mexicanos company. And now he guarantees through social networks the crossing to the United States through the Mexicali Centro port of entry, in Baja California, a border state with the United States. He even promises to take the migrants “to the door of your house in Miami or whatever city in the United States where your relatives live.”
For years, Cubans in their desperation to leave the Island, have been victims of scams, extortion, kidnapping and even rape. In October 2021, this newspaper received the testimony of several migrants who were victims of rape during their journey through Darien. Ana, a 45-year-old Cuban told Doctors Without Borders her bitter experience. She, along with other migrants, were threatened with guns. The women were not searched, they were taken directly to the top of the slope and raped.
*Translator’s note: In this context “parole” means legal entry.
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