Cuban migrants stuck in the Colombian port town of Turbo pleaded to President Barack Obama on Sunday to intervene and grant them safe passage to the US.
The letter, written “on behalf of the 2,432 Cubans stranded on the northern border of Colombia begged the President to intercede in the worsening situation and permit the migrants to enter the US safely.
“We write to you asking for you to please intervene and use your means so we can reach your country safely, without having to risk our lives in the jungle or in the hands of smugglers,” read the letter.
Last week the mayor of the Colombian municipality said that they were on the verge of declaring an emergency as they struggle to deal with the humanitarian crisis facing in excess of 4,000 migrants, a figure growing daily.
The letter pleaded for US Head of State to recognize the humanitarian crisis and assist the Cubans who are seeking to avail of the 1996 Cuban Adjustment Act which grants them residency in the US with relative ease.
“Do not treat this as an immigration application but a human intervention for the respect and integrity of a group of families seeking the right to live in dignity,” said the letter,
The letter denounced the “subhuman conditions” resulting from lack of food, overcrowding, insecurity and “constant psychological violence” by fear of deportation by the Colombian authorities.
On Friday, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos ordered the police to review the situation of the migrants in Turbo.
According to the Ombudsman’s Office of Colombia, which oversees human rights, 1,273 Cubans, including about 300 minors and eleven pregnant women, are housed in a warehouse in Turbo, near the border with Panama.
Foreign Minister Maria Angela Holguin described the humanitarian situation as “complex” and warned that Colombia wants to avoid becoming the place of passage for these migrants.
The number of Cubans heading north surged in the last year in part due to their fears that recent rapprochement between Havana and Washington could end those preferential U.S. policies aswell as the imminent change in President in the White House.
- Cubanos retenidos en Colombia piden intervención de Obama para llegar a Estados Unidos (El Espectador)
- Migrantes cubanos en Turbo piden ayuda a Obama (Semana)
- Migrantes cubanos en Turbo envían carta a Obama solicitando ayuda humanitaria (cmi.com)
- Report: Obama Admin Supports Refugee Deportations — of Cubans in South America (breitbart.com)