Six Cuban nationals stranded in Bogota airport after their deportation from Ecuador do not qualify as asylum seekers, the Cuban consul in Colombia said Sunday.
In reference to the Cubans that have been residing in Bogota’s El Dorado airport since January 1, 2014, the Cuban consul in Colombia, Luis Ernesto de la Fe Montaner, declared that “none of them qualifies as a refugee,” according to a press release.
The reasons stated are that the marooned Cubans — who after arriving in Bogota from Ecuador refused to board their transit flight back to the Communist homeland — “do not have any pending court cases in Cuba and are not the object of any kind of political persecution.”
The press release further asserts that the six nationals travelled to Ecuador from Cuba without any difficulties, nor will they be prevented from legally travelling to other countries once they return to Cuba .
“Nothing is preventing them from returning freely to our country and reincorporating themselves into their normal life, fully exercising their rights as citizens.”
Nonetheless, on Friday the Migration Office of Colombia’s Foreign Ministry granted the six Cubans a safe-conduct starting this Monday, meaning that they will be allowed to file a request for asylum before the Ministry during the following five days.
Each case must be revised under the specifications of decree 2840, which specifies the obligations of Colombia towards international refugees.
- Cuba asegura que no persigue a ciudadanos que solicitan refugio (RCN La Radio)
- Cubanos no calificarían como refujiados según cónsul de Cuba (El Colombiano)
- Comunicado de prensa del Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores de Colombia (Colombia Foreign Ministry)
- DECLARACION a la prensa de Luis Ernesto De la Fe Montaner, Cónsul de la República de Cuba en Colombia (Emilio Ichikawa)