14ymedio, Havana, August 31, 2021 — A family of five Cubans, including a minor, was returned to Belarus at gunpoint on Monday by Polish border guards. The migrants were trying to cross into Poland and request asylum, they stated.
In a video shared by the Belarusian Border Guard, the Cubans, standing in the cold and rain, said they were beaten and threatened by the Polish soldiers. “We arrived here [in Belarus] forced by them, threatening us with their weapons, forcing us to jump the border,” said a Cuban who spoke on behalf of the group, also made up of a woman and two young people. The migrant also clarified that they requested political asylum in Poland, and even asked for a doctor to attend to them, but the border guards “did not understand.”
The video shown by the Belarusian authorities included a recording of the Cubans when they were intercepted in the neighboring country. The moment was recorded when the guards opened the door of the vehicle and the migrants, upon being discovered, demanded to see the police while the uniformed men tried to drop off two other foreigners who were also in the car.
In another part of the material, Cubans are heard shouting “human rights” and the girl, between sobs, pleading: “Please don’t hurt me.”
“They were very violent,” said the Cuban who spoke with the Belarusian authorities, who also confirmed that they were beaten, their claims were not heard, though he specified that “they did nothing to the girl and the woman.”
The expulsion of the Cuban migrants from Poland, happened almost two months after Belarus president Alexandr Lukashenko, in response to the sanctions of the European Union (EU), said that he was not going to stop the migratory wave toward Poland. It was not been the first time that Lukashenko threatened to open the floodgates to illegal migration to that geographical area in response to political and economic pressure from the EU, reports La Voz de Galicia.
In recent years Russia has become an irregular gateway to Europe for hundreds of Cubans. At present, the Eurasian country does not require a visa for nationals of the Island. Many arrive in Moscow with the intention of emigrating to other countries across borders, often starting with Belarus.
A report from El Diario.es in mid-July stated that one of the busiest routes for Cubans to reach European soil is through the Balkan peninsula. In 2017, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) warned of the increase in the migratory flow in that area. That year alone, at least 168 refugees were recorded who remained stranded in detention centers in Serbia, faced with difficulties in successfully crossing its border to continue on their way to a European country.
[from Russian] A family of refugees was forcibly taken to the Belarusian border
Translated by Tomás A.
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