embajada-ecuador

Photos: Juan Suarez

HAVANA TIMESHundreds of people flocked today to the Embassy of Ecuador in Havana to protest the South American country’s sudden decision to require visas for Cubans starting next week, reported dpa news.

The peaceful demonstrators began gathering at daybreak to protest the new immigration measures announced in Quito on Thursday.

On December 1, Ecuador will begin requiring visiting Cubans to first obtain a tourist visa. The Ecuadorian foreign ministry said the change in the previous open door policy is intended to mitigate the current immigration crisis in Central America. More than 3,500 Cubans traveling overland from Ecuador to the United States are stranded in precarious conditions on the Costa Rican side of that country’s border with Nicaragua.

“Five months ago I bought my ticket (for Ecuador). The airline does not refund the money. What can we do,” said Jaqueline, a 43-year-old Cuban, a few meters from the Ecuadorian embassy in Miramar, Havana .

Cuban authorities closed several streets and surrounded the entire area around the embassy to prevent more people from approaching.

“I’ve been other times and have come back. I do not intend to emigrate,” said Jacqueline, who declined to give her full name. Her flight to Ecuador is for December 5, she said.

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In front of the embassy over 400 people demanded to speak with diplomats of the South American country.

Ecuador was until now one of the few countries that did not require a tourist visa for Cubans. In recent weeks the flow of migrants from the island traveling to Ecuador to continue on by land to the United States grew significantly, according to figures from several countries in the region.

Two weeks ago, Nicaragua suddenly militarized its border with Costa Rica to prevent the entry of Cuban migrants.

The massive influx of Cubans to several Central American countries and Mexico apparently has to do with the fear that the United States will soon change its immigration policy toward Cuban nationals because of the diplomatic rapprochement between the two countries. Washington and Havana formally resumed relations in July after 54 years.

Because of the long-standing conflict, Cubans, since 1966, receive benefits including a fast-track to permanent residency in the United States, even if they enter the country illegally, something no other countries citizens routinely enjoy.

Cubans desperately looking for a refund from Copa Airlines. Foto: Juan Suárez

Washington justified the rules of the “Cuban Adjustment Act” by the political situation on the island, ruled for more than half a century ago by a one-party communist regime. Cuba, meanwhile, accuses the United States of trying to destabilize the country by encouraging illegal emigration.

The situation has given rise to several migratory crises including the “Mariel boatlift” in 1980, when more than 120,000 Cubans left on boats that came from Florida, and the “rafter crisis” of 1994, when tens of thousands of people took to the sea on makeshift rafts and boats.

Until the Ecuador option opened earlier this year, most Cubans wanting to emigrate tried to reach the United States mainly by sea.

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5 thoughts on “Protest in Cuba at the Ecuadorian Embassy

  • I choose no to condemn my country’s Wet foot/Dry foot policy not for lack of bravery but because I agree with it. I agree with you that failures in US foreign policy impacts the entire world. We are an exceptional country in this regard as well.

  • You know what they say. ..speak of the devil and. ..Obviously you don’t understand what is going on here. This “protest” is about Equador requiring vísas. If they were at the Nicaraguan embassy it would be about the treatment of other Cubans. I will admit that I am surprised that a protest of any kind is allowed.

  • Moses is and will never be brave enough to condemn the United States for creating this crisis with its biased policy towards the Cuban refugees. This policy was intended to create a crisis in the island. If you spit up in the air, it falls right back into your face and this is what is happening now. I am very much disturbed that Havana times is not bold or brave enough to place the blame where it should be placed. Right at the feet of the United States which is still intent on regime change in Cuba. Why not withdraw the dry foot wet foot policy if you have established diplomatic relations with the Cuban government? Unless and until the government of America ceases its forked tongue foreign policy and make and ensure that its word is its bond, crisis after crisis will always emerge on the world scene. America’s word and action must carry some weight. People must be able to trust the word of America. America must abide by the charter of the United Nations: until such time, the world stands in the quicksand of uncertainty and it would be facing crisis after crisis!!!

  • Who would have thought, a post on HT that Moses has not commented on. But then again, all evidence that Cubans have the right to protest in support of other Cubans wanting to leave the country is best overlooked.

  • How much and how long does a visa last? Money and power are the route’s of all evil

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