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Nicaragua, the new springboard to the US that Cubans are betting on regardless of cost

After the free visa, Cubans have chosen to fly direct to Managua, all to follow a safer route to the US. Entry from Panama is increasing.

TODAY NICARAGUA  (La Prensa) The free visa for Cubans to enter Nicaragua has encouraged thousands of Cubans to reinforce the route via Nicaragua to reach the United States.

August C. Sandino international airport in Managua

The decision of the Daniel Ortega regime has caused that they no longer opt for land routes from South America and that Cubans travel directly by air to Nicaragua.

According to official statistics that count the number of foreigners per country who enter Panamanian territory irregularly through the Darien, a 266-kilometer jungle corridor between Colombia and Panama, a total of 17,603 Cubans have crossed what is the most dangerous passage for irregular migration from South America to the United States between January and November 2021.

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While between January and March the numbers of Cubans crossing the Darien were approximately 200 per month, the following months were thousands who followed this route, with October being the month that registered the highest number with 3,108 Cubans crossing to Panama.

November with less irregular crossing

However, the figures also reveal that in November there was a drop in these irregular crossings, only 1,639 Cubans crossed through the Darien this month, 46% less than in October.

According to the international media 14ymedio, one of the reasons for this decline is that Cubans are choosing to fly directly to Managua, at whatever the cost.

Information collected by this medium indicates that Cubans residing in Ecuador are selling their belongings to fly directly to Nicaragua without having to cross the Darien.

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“Although the migratory flow will not stop for the moment, Cubans are thinking of new routes that do not include the jungle corridor. Roger, a Cuban who has lived in Ecuador for seven years, plans to fly between Quito and Managua in mid-January. With the establishment of a free visa for the island’s citizens, Nicaragua became the new springboard on the route to the United States,” reported 14ymedio.

The testimony of a Cuban consulted by 14ymedio indicates that the ticket to fly to Managua from Ecuador is valued at US$480 dollars. “The young man has been selling little by little all his belongings in Ecuador to be able to save and start the trip with the aim of requesting asylum in the United States,” the article narrates. The islander also pointed out that there are hundreds of Cubans who are in the same situation.

Nicaragua does not care about the cost

The goal is one, to reach Nicaragua and then cross Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico and finally reach the United States, and for many Cubans the cost does not matter because media in this country report that many have paid up to $ 3,300 for a flight ticket to Managua.

“Approximately 200 Cuban passengers waited for the Air Century flight that would take them from Santiago de Cuba to Managua with a stopover in the Dominican Republic. This, after paying his tickets for the scandalous sum of US$3,300,” reported the Cuban Directory. The aircraft had mechanical defects according to the news report.

Likewise, this has been confirmed by Nicaraguans who have entered the country with a stopover in Panama. A passenger consulted by La Prensa reported that on a flight from Panama almost all the passengers who came to Nicaragua were from Havana.

On their route to the United States, Cubans residing in Ecuador will fly to Managua to avoid the Darien. Photo 14ymedio

The free visa authorized by Ortega

Through the Ministry of the Interior, the Ortega regime established on November 22, “free visa” for all Cuban citizens who wish to enter Nicaragua, in order “to promote commercial exchange, tourism, and humanitarian family relations”.

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Through a statement, the state entity pointed out that the decision is given due to the high demand for visa applications received by Cuban citizens, with relatives in Nicaragua, to the General Directorate of Migration and Foreigners. However, they did not specify the number of requests.

Since January 2019, the Daniel Ortega regime had made the requirements to travel to Nicaragua more flexible for Cuban citizens, including them in “migratory category B”, which allowed them to obtain a tourist visa for a 30-day stay in Managua.

Since then, Nicaragua has become a shopping destination for thousands of Cubans who take advantage of travel facilities to stock up on the island’s scarce merchandise in Managua.

According to official statistics, in 2019 a total of 44,829 Cubans visited Nicaragua, a figure that skyrocketed if one takes into account that in the previous two years the number of Cubans who landed in Managua did not exceed 2,000.

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