20,000 dollars and 58 days of anguish in Guyana to reunite a Cuban family in the US

20,000 dollars and 58 days of anguish in Guyana to reunite a Cuban family in the US

Cubans Marisel de la Luz Nápoles Gómez and José Domingo Ferreiro Rodríguez arrived in the United States on Wednesday after 58 days stranded in Guyana waiting for the resolution of their visas for family reunification. They consider themselves lucky: there are those who have been more.

The last expense they were forced to make was at the Georgetown airport itself. “At immigration they told us that our 30-day stay had expired and that we had to pay a $200 penalty,” they tell 14ymedio. By then, his daughter Kenia, a US resident since 2011 and who had reclaimed, He had disbursed $20,000, not counting the payment of lawyers and other expenses.

The couple release their real names now, that they feel safe on US soil, but he already reported his case to this newspaperan example of the desperate situation of hundreds of Cubans who are still waiting for their documents from the United States Embassy in Guyana and which they do not hesitate to describe as “absolute chaos.”

Last Friday, they say, nerves flared outside the diplomatic headquarters in Georgetown and several Cubans dissatisfied with a change in the visa passport collection system “went to hell.”

Last Friday, they say, nerves flared outside the diplomatic headquarters in Georgetown and several Cubans “went to their fists”

The Embassy had announced last April 30 that as of the following May 3, the delivery of passports would be managed through the “immigrant/non-immigrant visa appointment system”. Both in an announcement through its social networks and via email to those affected, it also warned that whoever had scheduled the appointment before May 3, the visa and passport would be sent “automatically to the DHL facilities in 50 Cummings St, Alberttown, Georgetown”.

“Appointment system records for applicants who were previously given document pickup appointment dates will be automatically updated with the Courier Pickup location. Embassy document pickup appointments will be cancelled,” it explained. his message to the diplomatic headquarters, which reiterated in capital letters that “it will NOT allow the collection of passports in person”.

The instructions were clear, but the many days of uncertainty and the amount of money spent took their toll on those who had gotten the date to show up in person. “We had received that appointment 15 days in advance, long before the change in procedure, hence our frustration,” explains Marisel.

For her, the problem of having to go to Guyana to resolve the visas granted by the United States, a mandatory process since the Embassy in Cuba suspended services after the appearance of diplomats with strange symptoms known as “Havana syndrome” , is the existing corruption between the hostels and the clinics that are in charge of the required medical check-up before the consular interview.

The clinic, says Marisel, “sometimes is open until late at night, because at night the whole system of corruption is activated”

“The hostels have completely penetrated the clinics; you have to pay, which is the only way to get your checkups delivered on time,” he insists. “We are talking about figures that can reach a thousand dollars. With that money, you can get your checkup done today and pick up your passport tomorrow or the same day at night.”

The clinic, says Marisel, “sometimes is open until late at night, because at night the entire system of corruption is activated.” If someone decides not to pay the bribes, she denounces her, “they can leave you waiting there for two months.”

She has been waiting for five months, for example, for Berta García Reyes, who arrived in Guyana on December 21 and was forced to undergo a sputum medical test at the clinic “due to suspicion of tuberculosis.” Now, she expects the results to come in before June 6, when she has her appointment rescheduled at the US Embassy.

“If the results come sooner, I hope they call me sooner.” Meanwhile, her daughter will have to continue to cover the 35 dollars a day that Berta costs for accommodation plus transportation and the telephone. The hug that they haven’t given each other for three years is also still on hold.

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