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Thousands of Cubans are stranded in Ciudad Juárez, on the US-Mexico border

 Ciudad Juarez (Mexico), .- In an unprecedented phenomenon in Mexico, the border city of Juarez welcomes thousands of Cuban migrants waiting to request or resolve their asylum application in the United States.

“They have welcomed us here very well, they give us food with a little chili, but that is not their fault,” said Juan Carlos Flores, a Cuban migrant who, together with his wife, told Efe on Wednesday. , has more than a month in this city of the northern Mexican state of Chihuahua.

Flores said he had chosen this border crossing – which these days suffers from the threat of border closure of President Donald Trump – when he learned that asylum seekers crossed, apparently, quickly and without risk.

The couple decided to migrate because they did not like the current government of Cuba, and although they commented that “there were pros and cons in the system,” they preferred to leave their country in search of a better job in the United States, the dream land for many.

According to official figures, 70% of the more than 3,300 migrants who are currently in transit in this Mexican city are Cuban.

“Juárez even came from being a city where it was not very important for migratory flows to the United States, and seeing us again as the center of migratory flows was something very surprising,” the researcher from the Department of Population Studies told Efe. of the College of the North Frontier (Colef) Jesús Peña.

According to the migration expert, the current situation was ‘in crescendo’ after the arrival of 100 Cuban migrants to this border in October last year.

This first hundred migrants were allowed to enter the United States in less than 24 hours after stepping on the territory of Juarez.

“Those people left Brazil for Ciudad Juarez because the first migrant caravan was in Tijuana, I think it was easier for them to reach other borders, there were even more flights connections and bus routes to Ciudad Juarez,” said Peña.

From this first arrival of migrants of Cuban origin, began to spread the word among their relatives and friends, that the border Ciudad Juárez-El Paso access was quick and simple.
The Cuban migrant population took advantage of that same year Panama opened a free visa and joined other migratory flows from Central America.

In buses or even in airplanes, they began arriving at this border and they were part of the more than 10,200 migrants that the State Population Council (Coespo) counted from the last days of October 2018.

“While in other places they receive people of other nationalities, here we are receiving mostly Cubans,” said the general coordinator of the Coespo, Enrique Valenzuela, at a press conference.

He also stated that due to the high numbers of migrants in transit, ten shelters had to be put up in the city in order to be able to attend this population in a dignified and orderly manner.
In February of this year, a temporary shelter was installed in the Bachilleres Gymnasium, where more than 500 migrants were accommodated.

This is after the Casa del Migrante – a civil association that has traditionally provided shelter for migrants – reaches its maximum capacity.

Now, in the gym that used to have hundreds of mattresses used to sleep on its floor, there are only 90 migrants left, all of Cuban nationality, who sleep in five rooms.
Adriel, who like Juan Carlos spends the night in the gym, decided to leave the province of Villa Clara in Cuba to find in the country of the ‘American dream’, security and freedom.

“My motive was practically to seek democracy, freedom of expression, there was no such freedom, they were permanently on top of one, making life practically impossible,” he told Efe.

The Cuban reported that two of his relatives, like him, belong to the opposition movement that exists in the Caribbean country.
Without wanting to comment much on the subject, he explained that this situation put him at constant risk.

“You feel it because you are Cuban, you have your family, your mother, your brothers, and nobody wants to leave your homeland, but when you have to do it, you have to do it,” she said through tears.

For the Colef researcher, the reality of Adriel is that of many other migrants who, due to the hardness of getting away from their families, are joined by the harsh reality of the country they long to reach.

“This migration that is coming is no longer a labor migration, it is no longer simply the idea of ​​the ‘American dream.’ It has to do with the socioeconomic decomposition of many countries that are no longer viable for a certain type of population,” Peña explained. reference not only to Cuba, but above all to the migrant caravans, mostly made up of Central Americans.

From the perspective of the researcher, current public policies were designed for another generation of migrants, so a “re-engineering of public policies must be done to coincide with the new reality”
The situation that migrants have lived for months in Ciudad Juarez coincides these days with the latest outbursts of President Donald Trump, who has threatened to close the border and accused Mexico of not doing “anything” to stop the phenomenon. (EFE)

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