Thousands of Cubans and other Migrants Stranded in Colombia near Panama

Cuban migrants stranded in Northwestern Colombia near Panama. Photo: martinoticias.com

HAVANA TIMES – Thousands of migrants have been stuck for more than two months in the Colombian municipality of Turbo, bordering Panama, following the closure of the passage by order of the government of the neighboring country. Today they called on both nations to provide solutions to the problems that worsen every day, reported dpa.

Nearly 4,000 foreigners, the majority from Cuba, remain in the town located 487 kilometers northwest of Bogota. From there, the migrants hoped to move on through Central America (now closed off to their passage) to reach Mexico and on to the United States.

Alejandro Bayona, a spokesman for migrants who are housed in a warehouse under precarious conditions, told Caracol Radio that the governments of Colombia and Panama should “come up with a plan for safe and orderly migration to the United States.”

Also, Bayona denied that some of his compatriots are crossing the border illegally and said that “the least” they want is “risking human lives.”

On Tuesday, the mayor of Turbo, in Antioquia department (northwest), Alejandro Abuchar ordered the census of migrants and declared a public emergency in the town following the overcrowding that hundreds of them live.

Meanwhile, the director of the Migration Service, Christian Krüger, said his company is studying the case with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to start deporting foreigners.

“We are advancing the process to enter the warehouse where most immigrants are staying to subsequently initiate actions which by law belong to us, which in this case would be deportation,” the official said.

Later, President Juan Manuel Santos announced that with the implementation of a new Police Code, which shall take effect in the country within six months, officers will be able to enter the warehouse where Cubans are housed and review the situation.

The Colombian Navy often discovers groups of illegal immigrants in that region of Colombia, mostly from Cuba, Haiti, Somalia, Mali, Pakistan and Bangladesh, trying to reach Panama on their way to the United States.


8 thoughts on “Thousands of Cubans and other Migrants Stranded in Colombia near Panama

  • August 5, 2016 at 2:02 pm
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    I Dan can still express my views and opinions having freedom of expression which is denied to Cubans.

  • August 5, 2016 at 12:15 pm
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    Irony? Ummmmmm, let’s see. Despite free health care, education, and housing, Cuban’s risk their lives to flee to a country rife with racism, and inequality. …How’s that?

  • August 5, 2016 at 10:57 am
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    Maybe you could stay on point and address the irony of this situation ?

  • August 4, 2016 at 2:59 pm
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    O.K. Terry as you apparently think that Fidel and Raul have changed and even become respectful of their fellow Cubans, let me up-date a little!

    Fidel Castro Ruz in addressing the Communist Party of Cuba Congress on 24th February, 2013:

    “The great battle to be imposed is the need for an energetic struggle without respite against the bad habits and errors being committed daily by many citizens including Party members in the most diverse spheres.”

    Then on July 7, 2013 Raul Castro Ruz gave an incredibly accurate summary of the consequences of fifty five years of Castro dictatorship:

    “Thus part of society has come to see theft from the state as normal. There has been propagation of illegal constructions with relative impunity moreover in inappropriate sites, non-authorized occupation of housing, illicit marketing of goods and services, non-fulfillment of working hours, illegal cattle rustling and slaughter, capture of marine species in danger of extinction and utilization of the art of fishing, felling of forestry resources including in Havana’s magnificent Botanical Gardens, the hoarding of products in short supplies and of bribes and their resale at higher prices, participation in games outside the law, price violations, the acceptance of bribes and privileges, preying on tourism and infraction of established regulations related to informatics security.”

    That analysis scarcely reflects admiration of his fellow citizens, but Raul then expressed his frustration by saying:

    “i have the bitter feeling that we are a society constantly more instructed but not necessarily more educated.”

    You questioned whether my comment that “No doubt Raul Castro views these fellow Cubans who have fled Cuba in a manner similar to that which Fidel expressed” had hard evidence to support it. Now you have the answer.

    Regarding intelligence, that can be interpreted as possessing knowledge or the level of IQ. I have just demonstrated the first but cannot obviously reassure you about the second without taking the risk of being accused by you of conceit.

  • August 4, 2016 at 2:27 pm
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    That Dan for you is a typically humane considerate comment. Maybe as an immigration lawyer you can cash in on the distress these people are suffering. Or maybe in your pursuit of support for the Castro dictatorship you can advise how to return these unfortunate folks to Cuba.

  • August 2, 2016 at 10:24 am
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    Turbo ? Hmmm. Chiquita Brands territory. Maybe these Cubans sitting around with nothing to do can take a quick lesson about life it the “Free” , Capitalist, US dominated 3rd world. They can look around the outskirts of Turbo, (particularly the dump) to see if they can uncover some of the dozens of death squad victim’s bones. You know,all those Union leaders and human rights activists who got a machetazo, or worse chain-sawed, by the AUC, for daring to try to stand up to a powerful US multinational.

  • August 2, 2016 at 8:19 am
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    Carlyle, news flash!! That was then…this is now. I know you’d prefer to stay stuck in the quagmire of the past, but please, try to be a bit more current and perhaps offer a solution to the problem as well. I think we all know what the solution is… the Cuban Adjustment Act needs to be repealed asap. Oh! And please do tell… what hard evidence do you have to support your intelligence that… “No doubt Raul Castro views these fellow Cubans who have fled Cuba in a manner similar to that which Fidel expressed so eloquently in 1982 about the 125,000 who left on the Mariel boat-lift”…??? Or is the word intelligence the wrong word for you?

  • August 1, 2016 at 1:53 pm
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    No doubt Raul Castro views these fellow Cubans who have fled Cuba in a manner similar to that which Fidel expressed so eloquently in 1982 about the 125,000 who left on the Mariel boat-lift:

    “Criminals. lumpens, anti-social elements, loafers and parasites.”

    and his subsequent view of those who sought refuge in the grounds of the Peruvian Embassy in Havana, described as:

    “Scum”

    Such was Fidel Castro’s opinion of his fellow Cubans.

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