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Take the long way home…

19 June 2008

The mysterious hijacking last week of a busload of Cuban “illegals” near Tapachula apparently wasn’t all that mysterious.  James G. McKinney, in the New York Times (not an Associated Press story) reported last Saturday:

Thirty-three Cubans who fled Cuba this month in motorboats were still missing the day after a Mexican government bus transporting them was stopped by armed men Thursday night. A half-dozen armed men in ski masks hijacked the bus, which also carried four Central Americans, and forced officials away at gunpoint in Chiapas. The Cubans had been detained in motorboats near Cancún on June 5. Immigration officials were transporting them to a detention center in Tapachula, on Mexico’s southern border.

At the time, the Cuban Embassy in Mexico suspected “Miami Mafia” involvement.  Cuban Ambassador Manuel Aguilera de la Paz was quoted in El Universal (also not an Associated Press report) as saying that while his country and Mexico were working out an agreement to stop the flow of Cuban immigrants going through Mexico to the United States, the “Miami Cartel” was being encouraged to traffic in humans by prominent anti-Castro Cuban-American politicians.

Ambassador Aguilera opined at the time that the “hijacked” Cubans were probably already in Miami.  He was wrong.  They showed up around McAllen Texas this morning.  From what Deutsch Presse-Agentur (decidedly not the Associated Press!) has been able to figure out (and the AP hasn’t) it looks like the Ambassador may have been right.

… a wide range of intermediaries allowed them to escape from Mexican authorities and then to travel to the United States seemingly legally, with documents that were or at least looked real and with money in their pockets.

The Cubans had been picked up by Mexican officials on June 6 …

Following the armed rescue in Chiapas – in which at least six masked men armed with rifles took part – the migrants said they were taken to a safe-house in the eastern Mexican state of Veracruz.

There, ‘they had photographs taken that were stuck on individual sheets of paper bearing the seal of (Mexico’s) National Migration Institute.’

With these documents, which ordered their exit from the country, they were then taken to the Veracruz central bus station, divided into groups and given enough money to travel to the United States.

‘With the documents handed to them, one of the groups of immigrants who arrived in the United States said they went through two military checkpoints and two migratory filters without trouble, on the way from Veracruz to Reynosa by road on a passenger bus,’ the Public Prosecutor’s Office said.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. 19 June 2008 6:03 pm

    In 2004 we lived in Mexico for the year, and our neighbor was a Cuban, living in Mexico for about a year also, making videos of Mexican historic sites for the Cuban television. His name was Lino, and one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. He grew up on a huge plantation which was confiscated by the government at some point. His son is involved in Cuban radio programing.

    Meeting him made me wonder, why do we go to such great lengths to exclude these people from the US. Many Cubans are wonderful hardworking and intelligent and generous folks.

    If things get a bit more normal between the US and Cuba, we will definitely go visit Lino down there.

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