Nearly 300 Cubans Detained This Weekend Trying To Enter Honduras

Las retenciones de cubanos en el Centro del Migrante en Choluteca son cada vez más habituales por el incremento del flujo migratorio. (La Prensa)
It is becoming more common to hold Cubans at the Migrant Center in Choluteca due to the increased migration flows. (La prensa)

A total of 281 Cubans have been detained this weekend while trying to enter Honduras through its southern border, according to what immigration authorities of that Central American country reported this Monday. In addition to the Cubans, there were two Pakistanis, four Africans (without specifying the country), four Bangladeshis and 10 Romanians.

“In all, 301 foreigners were detained as they passed through the south zone, among them 10 minors, aged between three months and seven years,” Jose Luis Lozano, regional director of migration, told the local press. Lozano added that this is the largest detention recorded so far this year, which had never exceeded 200 people.

Those detained declared that it is likely other Cubans would continue to arrive in the country in the coming days, as several groups left the island simultaneously with the intention of reaching the United States, according to  El Heraldo.

The flood of Cubans was so great that the Migrant Center in Choluteca was too small to accommodate the detainees, who had been staying in a hotel in Tegucigalpa and will have to pay with their own money for the rooms. “In the hostel there were only the migrants from Pakistan, Romania, Africa and Bangladesh,” the official told reporters.

Lozano also said that in August alone, 2,235 people were stopped coming in, mostly from Cuba. Before reaching the country, the detainees spent several days in Nicaragua, and according to the authorities they had left the country three months ago.

The passage of Cubans through Honduras has increased in recent years in line with the increase of the migratory flow to the United States for fear of losing the privileges enjoyed by natives of the island due to the Cuban Adjustment Act. In 2014, some 4,249 Cuban citizens were found without documents in Honduras, while in 2015 so far there are more than 9,000.

Honduras provides humanitarian safe conducts to Cubans who step on its territory, therefore, the migrants come to the office of Choluteca to obtain the permit allowing them to stay in the country for five days and then continue on their way to their real goal: the United States.

The land route to the northern neighbor starts for most Cubans in Ecuador, a country that does not require a visa or a letter of invitation to enter its territory. From there begins a long and dangerous journey that includes passing through seven countries: Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala and Mexico.

Entry through Mexico has also skyrocketed in recent times. The number of rafters rescued by the Mexican Navy off the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula has increased tenfold in just two years. From January to August 2015, a total of 208 Cubans were picked up at sea, according to figures the Secretary of the Navy provided to  14ymedio, compared with 74 in 2014 and 26 in 2013.

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