Home » World » Despite the closure of the land border with the US, the flow of Cubans to Nicaragua has not decreased

Despite the closure of the land border with the US, the flow of Cubans to Nicaragua has not decreased

The frequency of flights between several air terminals in Cuba and Nicaragua has increased significantly this summer, according to information compiled by 14 intervened at the Augusto César Sandino airport in Managua. Despite the fact that, with the closure of the US border from December 2022 and the entry into force. parole humanitarian, the flow of migrants through the Central American route has decreased considerably, which does not prevent Cubans from continuing to benefit from free visas in Nicaragua.

“Up to nine flights a day are arriving from Cuba,” Julio, who has been very attentive in recent years to the movement of migrants from the island, told this newspaper. Employees at Managua airport, familiar with the 2022 exodus. , surprised by the number of Cubans who arrive every day in the Nicaraguan capital. “If it continues like this, in two or three years the island will lose a million more people,” he added.

This Thursday morning, the electronic arrival board at the Managua airport indicated the arrival of four flights from the island, three of them from Havana and the last from Cancun, a city that serves as a stopover for some connections. “All the charter flights come from Cuba and stop in a dozen cities, like Mérida and Cancún, in Mexico, but also in Port-au-Prince (Haiti),” Julio pointed out.

The Mexican airline Viva Aerobus increased its frequency with a stopover in Mérida from two weekly flights in July to seven in August.

This newspaper compared the frequency of the route from Cuba to Managua – as announced by the island’s airport – and verified an increase in flights of several airlines. In the case of José Martí International Airport, in the capital, the Venezuelan Conviasa flight went from three weekly frequencies in July to six this August.

Another hit is the Mexican airline Viva Aerobus. From Havana, the company increased its frequency with a stopover in Mérida from two weekly flights in July to seven in August, in addition to the 10 weekly routes it makes directly to Cancun. Although it is very difficult to determine how many of these planes continue their journey in Managua, it is known that this airline organizes most of the flights made in the Central American country.

In addition, its operations are not limited to the capital, but it manages three other routes, with three weekly flights to Abel Santamaría Airport, in Santa Clara, three to Ignacio Agramonte, in Camagüey, and two more to Frank País, in Holguin. . Last June, these routes from the interior of the country were limited to only one weekly frequency per airport.

Dominican Air Century will also start flying this August from Holguin to Nicaragua with two weekly frequencies, stopping in Santo Domingo. nonetheless, like the rest of the companies that do this route, they may not declare Managua as their final destination either. This is what the source assumes. 14 intervened in Nicaragua: “Airplanes that say Dominican Republic on the airport board generally come from Santo Domingo but they can also come from Santiago de los Caballeros or Puerto Plata, because I’ve seen them,” he warns.

Aruba Airlines and Aeroméxico also fly to Nicaragua, with variable frequency. The latter made a stopover in Mexico City.

Many of these companies do not offer flights from Cuba to Nicaragua on their official booking pages and in some cases, for those intending to fly from the island, the destination of Managua does not even exist. This type of management has opened up a space for ticket resellers and various travel agencies to take advantage of flights between the two countries.

Now, if you want to fly to Nicaragua, it is necessary to pay from abroad to reservation agencies such as the Mexican Vagamundos. For islanders who do not have this option, they have to deal with resellers who offer prices in excess of $1,000 per person in all cases – except for some tickets for children – and who now have all flights covered until the end the month of October. , according to several immigrant groups on WhatsApp and Facebook.

Finally, for those who cannot pay for the procedures and facilities offered by illegal agencies or vendors – who only accept transfers in dollars to US banks or through the Western Union company for payment in Cuba – queues at the Havana office of Conviasa to try to get a ticket.

Nicaragua says, in practice, almost “all Cubans find asylum in these countries.”

With the measure taken by the United States to control Latin American migration in 2022, and after the offer parole humanitarian aid to Cubans, Haitians, Venezuelans and Nicaraguans, many estimated that, if they did not find a sponsor, a large number of people would give up, at least temporarily, traveling to Nicaragua.

nonetheless, for the Cubans it was not the case. According to Julio, many of the newcomers to Managua continue their journey to the southern country of Nicaragua. “One thing that is completely unknown in Cuba is that there is a growing number that – at least for now – does not go to the US but to the ‘rich’ south of Central America: Costa Rica and Panama,” he explains.

In addition, the constant flow of people has led to the creation of networks of already settled Cubans who help newcomers. “Friends who know a friend’s friend and thus help each other”. “nonetheless, not all of them leave,” warns Julio. “Some are staying here temporarily while they decide what to do, whether to go north or south.”

The Nicaraguan says that, in practice, almost “all the Cubans are granted.” asylum in these countries. It is predictable that the phenomenon will continue to increase,” he estimated.

“For some time here, I have had several surprises because it’s something you don’t expect, like the cashier who serves you at the supermarket is Cuban or the guy who delivers the gasoline,” he said.

In his case, he says, he recently found a young Cuban working at a restaurant he frequents with his family and found him very “nice and attentive.” Even Nicaragua, a country allied with Havana and under the regime of Daniel Ortega, has become a viable option for the Cubans, who are willing to exhaust all options not to stay on the island.


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