No Future: Nicaraguans’ Desperate Search for a US Sponsor

From left to right, Edwing Marenco, Blanca Guerrero and Ervin Miranda who are looking for a sponsor for the humanitarian parole. Photos: La Prensa / Courtesy

Three Nicaraguans recount the difficulties they’ve had getting a sponsor, and the desperation they feel because they see no future in their country.

By La Prensa

HAVANA TIMES – “Every day I ask God to help me find a sponsor,” says Ervin Miranda, 45. “Who haven’t I asked? Two old Friends told me they can’t, leaving me frustrated and sad, but I don’t want to give up. They told me they’d already sponsored people, and that there was a limit to how many people they could request,” he explains.

Miranda is desperate. He earns 10,000 cordobas a month [just over US $273] doing maintenance in a Managua school. He, his wife and his two children must all live on that salary, he tells us.

Ervin wants to emigrate because of the “economic and political situation in the country. We don’t have any other options for extra income. I want to go and work legally in the United States. Everything is expensive – our salaries are no longer enough to better our quality of life, much less to build a house,” he details. Miranda and his family all live in his parents’ house.

In January of this year, US President Joe Biden announced the implementation of a program for humanitarian parole. The new program allows the legal entry of up to 30,000 people monthly from Nicaragua, Cuba, Venezuela, and Haiti. Between January and April, according to figures from the Department of Homeland Security, almost 19,000 Nicaraguan cases were approved. As of April, according to information published by CBS News, 20,000 Nicaraguans were still waiting for their cases to be resolved.

Miranda is one of the thousands of Nicaraguans who seek to migrate but don’t have a sponsor – a requirement to qualify for parole. In an article that appeared in La Prensa, Anita Wells, president of the Nicaraguan-American Human Rights Alliance (Nahara), noted that among the difficulties Nicaraguans face in finding sponsors is the relatively small size of the Nicaraguan community in the United States, a lack of good English skills and the technology itself to apply.

“I’m desperate to leave”

Another case is that of Blanca Guerrero, 43. She makes a living washing, ironing, and cleaning houses but she hasn’t had any work for three months, nor has she found a sponsor. Her husband is a bricklayer and earns some 5,000 cordobas a month [around US $137]. With that money, they must cover all their needs, but they aren’t making ends meet, she says. “Here, it’s hard to find work. I’m desperate to leave. Sometimes you can sell something and buy the day’s food, but sometimes there’s none,” she adds.

Edwing Marenco, 28, also wants to leave and hasn’t found a sponsor. “I was going to emigrate illegally last year, but I was afraid of being kidnapped in Mexico. Then they closed the borders, and I couldn’t make that move anymore. Then, a few months later, I saw there was a page where people could ask someone to be their sponsor. I tried to register, although I couldn’t understand it very well because of the English. I wanted to sign up, but it wasn’t possible, because the page kept closing,” he says, speaking of his experience using the Welcome US website, set up by an organization that seeks to connect those wanting parole with possible benefactors.

“I don’t see a future in this country”

Ervin Miranda has worked in construction since he was 12, but was never able to purchase a house. The low salaries he’s received for years only allowed him to live day by day. Now 45 years old, buying a house is his life goal, and he believes that the only way to obtain it is by emigrating. “I want to buy a house for my children, so it could be our own home,” he explains.

Edwing Marenco shares Ervin Miranda’s dream of owning his own home. “I don’t have my own house, and I want one. I want to have my things, but working as a driver I can’t get there,” he states. Marenco is the father of a one-year-old son, and his monthly salary of 9,000 cordobas [US $246] which is only enough to eat and pay basic expenses. “The crisis is affecting us all. Everything is more expensive, taxes are rising, and salaries are lower every day. I don’t see any future in this country,” he declares.

What worries Blanca Guerrero most is the future of her two children, especially her 19-year-old daughter who’s studying Geological Engineering. “My daughter is dependent on us. She applied for a scholarship to live and eat on campus to help us out, and sometimes she only comes home on weekends, so as not to spend on electricity and bus fare, and because she doesn’t have a computer,” Blanca recounts. She says that her daughter has offered to leave her studies in order to help them out, but Blanca refuses to have that be the solution. “I don’t want her to throw away her professional career.”  If she managed to get parole, she assures, she could help her daughter finish her studies and save a little money to set up a small business in Nicaragua.

Read more from Nicaragua here on Havana Times