Judge in Miami Grants Political Asylum to Cuban Stowaway

Yunier García, 26, told local media that he feared for his life if he was repatriated to Cuba. (Capture)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 24 September 2019 — On Tuesday a judge in Miami granted political asylum to the young Cuban Yunier García Duarte, who arrived in the United States hidden in a Swift Airlines plane that departed from Havana’s José Martí International Airport for Miami on 15 August.

“Asylum granted, Government appeals,” immigration lawyer Wilfredo Allen briefly informed several media outlets and said that due to the appeal it is very likely that the young stowaway would remain in detention.

Political asylum is the only option the stowaway has to stay in the United States, where he has several relatives.

In his first interview with the US immigration authorities, Garcia had demonstrated a “credible fear” if he was sent back to the Island, a legal requirement to apply for political asylum in the country. The young man told local media that he feared for his life if he was repatriated to Cuba, where he escaped by way of the hold of an airplane.

“I risked my life, I hope you receive me. I strongly ask you to value my case. I came here because this is a country of human rights,” he told Telemundo.

“He who does not risk does not win,” added the young man who said he got on the plane because the United States is a law-abiding country. “If they deport me, they will torture me to see if I had accomplices.” “I did it alone,” he added during a phone call from the Krome Detention Center, in a conversation with the television station.

“Don’t come back son, because I don’t know what would happen to you,” Daysi Duarte, Garcia’s mother, told the cameras in Havana, in an emotional video released by Univisión 23. Between tears, the woman, who has severe heart disease, sent a message to her son assuring him that she would resist. “Let him know that I am strong,” she said.

The young man said that the trip had been very difficult and that he could barely breathe in the hold of the plane. The stowaway worked in the luggage department at Havana’s José Martí International Airport when he siezed the opportunity to hide in the hold of a Swift Air plane.

Upon arriving in Miami, Garcia was dressed in a shirt with the logo of Ecasa Cuba, the island’s airport and aeronautical services company.


The 14ymedio team is committed to serious journalism that reflects the reality of deep Cuba. Thank you for joining us on this long road. We invite you to continue supporting us, but this time by becoming a member of 14ymedio. Together we can continue to transform journalism in Cuba.