Hundreds of Cubans gathered near the Costa Rican consulate in Havana on Monday, after learning that Costa Rica had imposed a transit visa that complicates their plans to emigrate to Nicaragua.
Since Nicaragua abolished the visa for Cubans in November, many islanders have tried to emigrate via Costa Rica to reach the United States, or are going to buy products to resell them on the island, plunged into a serious shortage. of food and medicine.
Disgruntled Cubans launched multiple protests in a street near the consulate, as the police prevented them from approaching the consular representation.
“Transit visa to February 21, 2022,” reads a small circular hanging from the fence of the consulate, located on 5th Avenue in Miramar, an upscale neighborhood of Havana.
“It applies to all Cuban, Nicaraguan and Venezuelan nationals who must enter international airports in Costa Rica to change planes and/or airlines for a maximum period of 12 hours,” the post read.
Cuba is going through its worst economic crisis in 27 years, driven by the drop in tourism during the pandemic and the tightening of the embargo imposed by the United States, which has worsened shortages.
“It’s not done to anyone because how many thousands of dollars we have invested,” Dainerys Garcia, a 37-year-old manicurist who arrived with her husband on Monday morning from the eastern province of Holguin, told AFP. Cuba, eating a snack on the lawn.
Given the limited supply of direct flights to Managua, the couple would fly early Tuesday morning to Cancun, from where they would travel without leaving the airport to San Jose, Costa Rica, then to El Salvador to finally go in Nicaragua. A trip that cost them more than $3,000 each.
“We got information from the networks, we came today to see if we had any last minute changes and we found ourselves here full of people”. Many of those who came “were flying today, went to the airport and were told they weren’t going to be allowed to fly”, they add bewilderedly, doubting they could reschedule their entire itinerary .
“They are closing all the doors to us Cubans,” said another young man from the central province of Sancti Espíritus province, who in four days is due to fly to Nicaragua with stops in Panama and San Jose. With his three friends, he had planned to spend the night in a park near the consulate.