“They have 72 hours or they are deported.” In this way he threatened an agent of the National Institute of Migration to a group of 14 Cubans in Mexico City. The alternative is blackmail: “They are asking for $5,000 each, $70,000 for the group,” he tells 14ymedio a close associate of the detainees who wishes to remain anonymous.
The group was part of the 103 Cubans held in the Mexican state of Campeche, who were forced to remain without food on a bus for 24 hours. An immigration officer recommended to the source interviewed by this newspaper that he “move” with the money.
In an audio to which this newspaper had access, the telephone warning of the agent, identified as the deputy director of the Las Agujas immigration station, in the Mexican capital, is heard. “I want to know if they are going to get their hands dirty,” asks the official, who warns that “the amount will be considerable” if they want to free the group.
The voice also proposes the alternative of allowing his deportation and then negotiating a new entry with him. Although, he clarifies, this was already going to “stain his passport”. “It’s going to be a little more complicated, I feel,” says the man, who recommends the contact of the Cubans to act quickly.
“The group had been divided,” explains the same source. “Some were taken to the immigration station in Escárcega, in Campeche, but others were transported to the prosecutor’s office, where they were kept outside for more than a day without eating, until they were moved to Cancún, then to Chetumal and now they are in Las needles,” he says.
“I want to know if they are going to put their hands in it,” asks the official, who warns that “the amount will be considerable” if they want to release them.
Those transferred to Cancún offered money to the agents and obtained their release in Chetumal. This group includes a minor, Jimmy Jorge Céspedes Sánchez, who presented health problems during retention due to the asthma he suffers from, as well as Yaimet Sánchez Selles, Yaimet Selles Velázquez and Jorge Luis Sánchez Proenza.
It is not the first time that Cubans denounce abuses by the agents of Migration of Las Agujas.
The last week of July, Angélica María Rodríguez Varela, Isael Meléndez Castro, Junier Blanco Hernández and two other Cubans were detained despite having legal protection to avoid his arrest, during his transfer to the border with the United States.
Rodríguez, Meléndez, Blanco and other nationals of the island were robbed of the little cash they had, their passports were taken, the chip was removed from their cell phones and they were kept incommunicado for several days. They demanded the payment of 2,000 dollars each to release them and hand over their documents. Thanks to the intervention of an activist, they were allowed to leave the place and are currently in El Paso, Texas (USA).
The journey of Cubans through Mexico has increased notably in recent months. In the last 45 days, immigration authorities reported the arrest of 220 people who entered the country illegally.
“What they don’t say are the hundreds who have prisoners in the Immigration prisons. That is a crime,” says the 14ymedio source, who warns that they do not have the money to avoid deportation. “It’s crazy, they want $70,000.”
More than 177,000 Cubans have arrived by land in the United States and more than 5,000 by sea since October 2021.
Collaborate with our work:
The team of 14ymedio is committed to doing 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 becoming a member of our journal. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.