Two Cuban Journalists Are in an ‘Irregular’ Situation in Mexico But Will Not be Deported

Esteban Rodríguez and Héctor Luis Valdés Cocho at the San Salvador airport, last January. (Facebook)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 18 February 2022 — Independent journalists Esteban Rodríguez and Héctor Luis Valdés Cocho, who left Cuba at the beginning of January under pressure from the government, are in Mexico and will not be deported, a Foreign Ministry source confirmed to 14ymedio.

“Their situation will depend on the migration process they follow,” said the member of the Foreign Ministry, who was emphatic: “The refugee status is a possibility, but they will not be expelled, that is a fact.”

The communicators entered the country irregularly, so on January 18, they were detained in Mexico City and taken to the Las Agujas immigration station, located in the Mexican capital.

“Héctor Valdés was given a job and left on February 6,” the National Migration Institute (INM) told this newspaper. The journalist says that he is currently in the border state of Chiapas, where he hopes to initiate the procedures to regularize his immigration status. The document that was granted gives him a period of 20 calendar days to leave the country.

As for Esteban Rodríguez, a brief statement explained that he will remain in Las Agujas due to “a court order while his situation is resolved.” It is expected that, once the office is granted, he will move to the Mexican border with Guatemala.

The journalist had a shelter, but this Friday he requested refuge, so he would leave the place in the next few hours. “Faced with this situation, it will depend on the solution that is granted… The status of refuge is a possibility, but they will not be expelled, that is a fact,” they confirmed.

The version obtained by 14ymedio coincides with the one provided by the Mexican government, which through the Twitter account of the National Migration Institute (Inami) has explained the situation of the two migrants.

“The INAMI acts in accordance with the law and human rights in the case of two Cuban journalists who entered the country irregularly, one of them has an injunction and will remain housed in the Immigration Station of Mexico City by court order which resolves his situation,” indicates a first message.

“Meanwhile, the other person was granted an exit document that allowed him to leave the Mexico City Immigration Station on February 6,” he says, referring to Valdés Cocho.

This Thursday, several activists sounded the alarm about the situation of both journalists. The academic Mabel Cuesta circulated a message on Facebook in which she stated that both were in prison and that their situation was precarious, to the point that the activist organized a collection to help Valdés Cocho, whom she had contacted.

Valdés Cocho and Rodríguez left Cuba for Nicaragua in the first week of January, but were stranded at the El Salvador airport when they were going to board their flight to Managua, because, they said, the Nicaraguan authorities had rejected them.

After a mobilization of activists and diplomats, both managed to get El Salvador to admit them into the country until their immigration situation was resolved. However, the two journalists abandoned the refugee process and chose to leave the country, thus acquiring an illegal immigration status, which is why they have been detained in Mexico.


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