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Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Cubans Risk Their Lives to Avoid Deportation to Cuba

Cubans Risk Their Lives to Avoid Deportation to Cuba
August 9, 2016

HAVANA TIMES – Desperate to not be deported to Cuba, thousands of
migrants from the island decide to risk their lives in the jungles of
Colombia and Panama. The following is an alert about their situation.

A month and a day after the violent and unconstitutional eviction,
detention and expulsion of 121 Cubans from Ecuador, has revealed a
complex and problematic situation around the migrant population from the
Caribbean, Africa and Asia, which at the same time reveals the
consolidation of a system of migration control in South America, similar
to global patterns of this nature.

Of the information collected in recent hours the following facts are
noteworthy:

• As a result of the threat of mass deportation given by Colombian
immigration authorities, the warehouse that housed more than a thousand
Cubans, including pregnant women, minors, the disabled and the elderly,
has been virtually emptied. It is estimated that about two thousand
Cubans have taken their clandestine transit to the Darien jungle in
order to get to Panama.

• It is known that Colombian immigration authorities deported about
forty 40 Cubans supposedly to Ecuador, and another fourteen (14) were
deported directly to Cuba on Sunday August 7 on an aircraft of the
Colombian Air Force. Ecuadorian authorities have not officially
confirmed the whereabouts or legal status of the deported group, while
Cuban authorities have confirmed the arrival of the first group of
deportees.

• Information provided by Cuban migrants in Turbo confirms that although
Colombia continues to provide safe conduct for those wanting to
voluntarily leave the country, there are still threats and actual arrests.

• Haitian citizens including men, women and children continue to arrive
at the Ecuadorian/Colombian border crossing of Rumichaca, after making a
long journey from Brazil where their economic situation has deteriorated
in recent months. They seek to continue on to Central America and from
there to the USA.

• At least 194 Haitians were intercepted by Colombian Immigration in the
Rumichaca International Bridge and their whereabouts are unknown.
According to statements in the national media by the Ecuadorian police,
this group has not entered Ecuadorian territory.

• While fewer in number compared to other nationalities in transit,
reports from different sources and the Colombian and Ecuadorian media,
note the presence of migrants from Asia and Africa, passing through the
same routes and under the same conditions of violence towards the north.

• Reports on Colombian television and the international press confirm
that Colombian authorities launched a campaign that penalizes any act of
solidarity of the community of Urabá towards migrants located in this
region. Alleging information purposes only, Colombian police handed out
pamphlets with the following message: "For a safer Urabá: Report [the
presence of migrants]".

• According to information in the local media, raids are being conducted
by Immigration and the General Intelligence Directorate in Tulcan,
Carchi [near the Ecuadorian border with Colombia], and have included the
inspection of hotels and pensions.

Given these events, we alert the following:

• Given the refusal of the Colombian and Ecuadorian governments to find
effective solutions to the immigration status of the migrant population
in transit, people are confined to a legal limbo characterized by
widespread fear and helplessness.

• As a chain effect of restrictive responses Ecuadorian and Colombian
States, we warn that migrants from the Caribbean and outside the
continent are being pushed to transit via the Darien jungle, which is a
true path between life or death.

• We denounce Colombian Immigration for using of legal euphemism for
"voluntary deportation" aims to hide the forced departure of migrants to
the dangerous route of the Darien jungle.

• We denounce that a process of open discrimination and criminalization
of migrants in transit is taking place in Ecuador and Colombia, whose
effect has been to produce marginalization and stigmatization of this
population as disposable pariahs without humanity.

• We denounce the campaign of the Colombian police to leaflet and punish
the local population for helping the migrants, in an open promotion of
xenophobia and criminalization of solidarity by the people of Turbo.

• We warn that the often used pretext to combat people trafficking
continues to conceal the flagrant violation of human rights as a result
of the application of restrictive immigration policies that impede the
free movement of migrants in the region.

• We warn that the absence of a public debate about the events in
Ecuador and Colombia, is leading to an alarming process of normalization
of forms of state and social violence against the migrant population in
transit.

Faced with these facts we cannot but ask ourselves:

1. Given that Colombian Immigration stated in its Press Release No.40 of
July 27, 2016, that so far this year they have deported 5,800 migrants,
we must ask ourselves where this population is and under what conditions
were they deported? What authority has protected their rights and
compliance with due process? What is the situation of deportation in
other countries in the region? How can we handle such publicly
embarrassing figures without causing public outrage and pronouncements
and coherent solutions with a region that has a long history of migration?

2. Where is the solidarity of the Latin American states? Where is the
sense of regional integration, the supposed consensus on the rights of
migrants, and pronouncements against the non-criminalization of the
migrant population in Latin America?

3. What is the commitment towards human mobility of UNASUR in their
understanding of South American citizens in contrast to the migrants who
have been abused in Ecuador and Colombia?

4. Who is responsible for the safety of people who now march into the
unknown? Who has produced with their indolent actions the pushing of a
mass of people into the hands of coyotes and traffickers? Does the
sickening reiteration of the war against migrant trafficking and all the
arguments put forward to justify the use of military violence, breath
life into the rotting corpses of migrants in the Darien jungle?

We send a message extending a warm embrace to the people of Turbo, whose
poor streets contain a beautiful source of solidarity. Your generosity
has been so dangerous that the Colombian state has done nothing but
persecute and punish, because the powers that be need selfish citizens
who abhor solidarity. We provide our support in this way in the distance
against any government attempt to punish acts of solidarity from the
community, in an effort to use the intimidation of locals as a tool to
limit migratory flows in the region.

We continue calling on civil society, human rights groups, social
organizations and the population in general to learn about the
militarization of migration control in the region; to denounce the
regime of control and deportation that criminalizes and forces people in
transit underground; and to look for creative and inclusive solutions
with the intervention of states and regional institutions. This
conducted in a context characterized by the defense of the dignity and
the lives of hundreds of thousands of migrants seeking to realize their
dreams and improve their living conditions.

Collective in defense of human rights and migrants!

Quito, August 9, 2016

Arcentales Javier Illescas
Francisco Xavier Caicedo Hurtado
Velasco Soledad Alvarez
Ahmed Correa
Luis Túpac Yupanqui
Juan Pablo Albán
Bethlehem Aguinaga
Cindy Aguilar
Lina Maria Espinosa
Jorge Fernandez
Alex Valle Franco
Leda Alfonso
Martha Cecilia Ruiz

Source: Cubans Risk Their Lives to Avoid Deportation to Cuba - Havana
Times.org - http://www.havanatimes.org/?p=120408
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