14ymedio, Havana, 21 October 2022 — The United States returned to Havana a young Cuban, Yuri García, despite his request for asylum as a victim of harassment by the regime. García spent two weeks on an American Coast Guard vessel waiting for a response, but in the end he was returned, along with other migrants, on September 2nd, confirmed Yucabyte in a note published on Thursday.
The young man stated that he had previously fantasized about migrating, but “never very seriously” until the attacks and harassment by the regime escalated. At the end of August 2022, García abandoned the Island along with other people in a rustic boat, an escape route hundreds of Cubans have used this year to flee the economic crisis, food shortages, and persecution.
On the second day at sea, when the motor had stopped working and they were left without GPS, they were rescued by the U.S. Coast Guard and were transferred to a vessel. There, the group of migrants requested asylum from officials who “listened to us but did not give us the opportunity.”
“I thought that at least they’d investigate, but now I believe it was just an act. I believe they did not give me the opportunity to show evidence that I am politically persecuted, that they did not take my case seriously,” he told Yucabyte.
García is one of the many persecuted by the regime after he held a sign with the phrase, “Martí Yes, Marx No” in front of the Communist Party building in Mayabeque province, as part of the failed Civic March for Change on November 15, 2021 (15N).
The 30-year-old Cuban was arrested by authorities and held for four days and was fired from the state trucking base where he worked as a technician. After months of pressure and from his co-workers, he was rehired in January 2022, however, García stated that the surveillance, the psychological harassment, and summons for interrogations did not let up.
The last meeting occurred on July 11, 2022 when authorities expected new demonstrations on the first anniversay of the massive July 11, 2021 (11J) protests. That interrogation was to “warn me that, if I went out to demonstrate, I could face three to six years in prision,” said García.
Desptie the danger, hundreds of Cubans have abandoned the Island this year on small rafts headed for Florida, while others migrate by air to Nicaragua, and then continue on their way to the United States. García stated that he could not afford to buy a ticket, so his only option was by sea.
Translated by: Silvia Suárez
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