Rocky Road for Cubans in Ecuador

HAVANA TIMES, Feb 22 — The lack of guarantees for Cubans who came to Ecuador following that country’s elimination of visa requirements for 130 nationalities in 2008 were reported this past weekend by the website Café Fuerte.

Apparently the “charging of tolls” by Customs employees is a common practice whereby unscrupulous officials attempt to capitalize on the wave of potential migrants flowing into that South American country. This figure alone can reach $300 even when all legal requirements have been met by an aspiring immigrant.

The report highlighted extreme cases in which people have been deported back to Cuba after having spent all their money, which included figures that can reach $3,000 for an airline fare, a letter of invitation, a Cuban “exit permit” and a passport.

The Ecuadorean press has consistently decried the abuse many Cubans suffer upon entering the country, however the Cuban embassy in Ecuador has never defended its citizens who are also subject to exploitative labor conditions there, the report said.

According to the Ecuadorian government, more than 40,000 Cubans have entered Ecuador in the last five years.