American Airlines will resume its flights to Varadero in November

Condor will reimburse the tickets to the 22 Cubans not admitted on a flight to Frankfurt

The alarms have gone off among the Cubans who plan to leave the island through the Serbian route. On November 22, a group of passengers intending to travel to Belgrade from Varadero was rejected by the German company Condor at the Juan Gualberto Gómez airport. The event has spread like wildfire through social networks and has generated uncertainty about those who have invested their money in tickets to reach Europe, but the company assures 14ymedio that the case is unique.

“We can confirm that on November 22, a total of 22 passengers were not accepted to board the plane from Varadero to Frankfurt, since we received information that their trip to Serbia was at risk as far as their entry into the country is concerned” , tells this newspaper Magdalena Hauser, the airline’s communication director.

“We received information that his trip to Serbia was at risk as far as his entry into the country is concerned,” Magdalena Hauser, the airline’s communication director, told this newspaper.

The spokeswoman states that “on all subsequent flights, all passengers have been accepted”, which allays the fears of those who had purchased similar tickets. The plane, which leaves Varadero airport on Tuesdays at 5:45 p.m., arrives in Frankfurt at 9:25 a.m. (local time) the next day and continues to Belgrade at 10:55 a.m., operated by the also German Lufthansa on the flight LH1406, arriving at its final destination at 12:45. The other option, operated by the same companies, is to board the LH1410 that leaves at 9:20 p.m., arriving in Serbia almost at midnight and requires spending more than eleven hours of layover in Germany.

Hauser assures that Condor will fully refund the ticket prices and apologizes to those affected. “We are working closely with all parties involved to ensure that all regulations are met,” he argues without elaborating.

In the groups of Cubans in Serbia that proliferate on social networks, it is assured that there are more cases of Cubans who, although they did arrive in Frankfurt, were left stranded in the German city due to Lufthansa’s refusal to transfer them to Belgrade. Some of them add that there are no problems, on the other hand, when the second part of the flight is covered by Air Serbia or, even, that some Cubans who arrived in Germany were able to reach their final destination and avoid deportation by buying tickets with that company.

Cubans who travel to Serbia are exempt from a visa, although they do need to have a letter of invitation from a citizen of the country who has a stable job and is waiting for the migrant upon arrival in case it is necessary to verify any information. This document seems to be, according to the testimonies that are circulating, the one that is causing problems, since false papers abound. This, together with the increase in the flow of travelers from Cuba, has led the authorities to strengthen border controls.

Cubans coming from Cuba must prove economic solvency – at least 50 euros per day – and travel insurance.

Serbia, which maintains complex relations with the EU due to its proximity to the Russian government, has been talking with Brussels to try to put a stop to the situation

The fears of Cubans about the closure of this route are compounded by the news that has appeared in recent weeks in the European press. Serbia, which maintains complex relations with the EU due to its proximity to the Russian government, has been in talks with Brussels to try to put a stop to the situation. At the end of October, the six countries of the Western Balkans agreed in Berlin to toughen the measures after detecting that traffic on this route has multiplied by three in 2022.

The main one, of the four series of measures announced, is to coordinate the visa policy to eliminate exemptions such as the one that has allowed a growth in arrivals from India, Cuba, Tunisia and Burundi, which have gone from 2.5% to 20% of illegal border crossings in the Western Balkans.

In addition, the deployment of some 300 agents of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) is planned in the area, which includes North Macedonia, Albania and Kosovo to complicate the passage of migrants to the EU, objective end of most travelers despite the fact that some Cubans end up settling down in Serbian.

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