Translated in English
21 June, 2019
Guyana and the "Old Way", a deadly journey for expatriates
There are many cases of emigrants from Africa in general, Suriname, Angola,
Cameroon, Egypt, Haiti or Cuba, among many others, who have used Guyana as an exit point in South America to try to reach the United States through a trip that is
called the "Old Way".
This road, named for being the best known, the oldest and the most traveled by the
most humble peoples, should be called the “Road of Death”, because the route that
leads to the United States takes the lives of thousands of people and destroys the
psyche and the physicist to many thousands more.This tortuous road inevitably passes through a route of plunder and torture,traveling from Guyana to Brazil, then to Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico, and finally to the border with the United States.One would believe that the path is eligible. Reality is not like that.
The mafias operate on a calculated route that is shearing the poor emigrant, and that, given the number of people who transit, all with the same characteristics, is structured for them, and calculated to never wish to have left the country of origin, for much that, in these, Suriname, Angola, Cameroon, Egypt, Haiti or Cuba, the hardships are horrible in everyday life. Here, in this changing route, always hostile and threatening, the maximum level of hardships is never reached. The next goal is always and increasingly, more difficult, dangerous and humiliating than the previous one. No trip can be more terrible than the one that runs away from terror,without the family, alone, without language, and with an enormous level of dangers and bewilderments.It is not difficult, either, to know that this structure of terror and extortion exists. It is simply spoiled by the ruling classes. What they do to these immigrants, among which we Cubans, is the least of their political problems.
A. The departure from Guyana
Guyana is the starting point for many emigrants towards a journey full of dangers.
To start, calculating costs is impossible. They are unlimited for a poor man. He
must always be stranded. That's what the trip is about, to extract as much as
possible at all times, from each emigrant.If you are looking for a bus transport, for example, and you are paid $ 200 for the cost of transportation, the owner of this business immediately indicates that you need $ 75 more, as an extra cost, as there are seals, controls. In each of them you must pay $ 25 ... in theory. The way to pay for the checks is to put the passports into your passport, for your review, and so you should supposedly let one continue. The reality is very different. When the $ 25 is delivered to the first catch, they are thrown into a drawer. Immediately, to the surprise of the poor emigrant, they tell him that it is not enough. You have to give more, up to 4 times more. If not, it cannot be passed.
The haggling, so unpleasant, not only ends up eating resources in the absence of
negotiation capacity. With more or less success in the negotiation, the funds fly
to the poor emigrant who has nothing to scratch in his pocket. The resources are immediately consumed. It is the first tragedy of the trip.Everyone believes, before
leaving, that they can leave with the money they have. The reality is that it is
never enough, and it is always consumed, shortly after starting, the total
resources, in addition to an increasingly humiliating and hard way.Those who pay fast, and thus consume a large part of their resources, pass,possibly running out of money in the next checkpoint, but it is about the last ones understanding that, in order to pass, they will have to scratch their pockets to the last penny. It's about taking everything possible.Those who remain in line, who do not want or cannot pay the same, are cornered.When only these remain, the threats begin.
Deportation, verbal aggression,humiliation. Each check is a step for the destruction of self-esteem. The point of maximum pressure comes when they teach the dreaded wives and threaten that they will be detained for deportation. They take out the handcuffs, tell them to go find their luggage, and then they tell the driver to leave, so that you feel pressured to pay more money. At that point, to which they take them in a calculated way, you have to pay. If not, they are deported. The end of the trip. And they comply. If you don't have money, you don't serve. It's about, while you're in Guyana, and before arriving in Brazil, all your money is consumed. The game is not another. As in a casino, the bank always wins, and tries to win everything, without limit.
B. The passage through Brazil
When the border of Brazil is crossed, in this country there is a differentiated
treatment with the authorities. But this does not mean that you do not run other
dangers of equal or greater draft. The assaults, the scams by unscrupulous people,
are constant.Finally it is, once in Brazil, to reach some bus transport that goes to Manaus.From there, you have to take a boat to Porto Velho, more than 1,200 kilometers by waterway! 6 to 7 days of boat trip on the Madre de Dios River, a tributary of the Amazon, passing through Nova Olinda do Norte, Borba, Novo Aripuana, Manicoré, Tres Casas, Humaitá and finally Porto Velho.n Porto Velho, the journey touches land again. You have to get on a bus again to go to Assis Brazil, on the border with Peru, 786 kilometers and a whole day of travel, practically.
C. The passage through Peru
Again the migrant has, again, to fall into the hands of the mafias, this time less
organized. Peru is a country of poverty, but it does not have the degree of evil
from other areas of the hemisphere. There are poor migrants, and so are the
"coyotes."Passing the border of Brazil with Peru is almost surreal. You must ride a
motorcycle taxi. The motorcycle taxi is a motorcycle with 3 wheels, with the rear-
wheel drive transmitted by a chain to an artificially increased axle thanks to a
housing that allows two people to sit in the rear.The key is that, such motorcycle
taxis, constantly transport tourists from one side of the border to the other
without, because they do not cause an unbearable disorder to everyone, the
authorities stop, in principle, almost no one.However, migrants will also have a surprise that, as in a roscón de reyes, or in a Russian roulette, can touch anyone. It is not normal, but it is not so unlikely that the coyote in question is not appropriate, and that it is someone unscrupulous. There are those who have passed the unnoticed border and, immediately afterwards, the aforementioned motorcycle taxi enters an alley, usually lacking the light to let migrants go down. If the coyote is not adequate, depending on factors that only the coyote and the authorities will know, the police can make an appearance in that alley, instantly.At that time, Cuban migrants will see how the pleasant ride in the friendly motorcycle taxi ends with a pistol of a Peruvian policeman in his temples, with the sole objective of pulling out all the money they can carry. The options are few. If detected in time, fleeing through the jungle can pose even greater dangers. It is,therefore, to be lucky, or eye, when choosing the coyote, as well as touching or not touching that moment and for those people. The Old Way, without money, is a constant roulette where always, at all times, the worst can happen. And so it is for many thousands.It is almost impossible to get rid of one or another misfortune until this moment. All Cubans who have arrived there have already lived moments of fear for their lives, losing money and stopping to work in any unclean town,lengthening the crossing months, and all kinds of calamities.Other times, the coyote will come to the alley, after a while, with a more modern car, the Cuban migrants will ride in it and tell them that, from that point to Puerto Maldonado, the next stopover of the trip, they will have to find four checkpoints and five patrols mobile phones The four seals enter into the negotiation with the coyote and are part of the original deal negotiated in Brazil.
The mobile patrols, a mystery, always appear and always put their hearts back into a fist. In any of them, the "authorities" can and do have the power to fine the unsuspecting Cuban migrant, who must then pay a fine of $ 150 and be also deported back to Brazil. However, the payment of $ 100 in the pockets of the "authorities" in many cases can fix the situation. In others, just not. And start over, with no money and nothing to hold on to. Months late, again, waiting for money from outside or working to collect the amount to try again.If the $ 100 is not available, the "authorities" will not hesitate to register the migrants and leave them with nothing, absolutely zero, again, but at least in Peru. Even personal belongings are used to pay the debt. If this does not go away, the "authorities" of Puerto
Maldonado, already in a police station, will do the same thing again and try to
take out all the value they have left, through a serious interrogation that would
suggest that the objective is to stick to the Law, but it's not like that. The
purpose of the interrogation is none other than to deduce if there is any money or
hidden value to obtain from the Cuban migrant. Again everything returns to $ 150 of
the fine, or 100 to provide the income that the "authorities" require to "solve"
their economic life. 100 dollars is the cost of the safe-conduct that the
authorities will give them to continue the journey, 5 months of the salary of an
average Cuban.After paying the 100 dollars, all the migrants end up knowing that
said “safe-conduct” is not a legal document, but a scam along the way, so it ends
with 100 dollars less and in the same legal precariousness that was exposed to new
payments of false safeguards and various extortions.If everything has been "good"
so far, scammed and with hardly any money, you have to take a bus to Cuzco, almost
500 kilometers and a half full day of travel, where the hardships, the poor state
of health due to precariousness, Water changes and poor food, necessary to save as
much money as possible, will make them arrive in perfect conditions to suffer from
“altitude sickness” and physically decay to an extreme degree.It is therefore advisable to continue by bus to Lima, 1100 kilometers and two days away.A new bus to the north will take you, passing through Piura, to the border with Ecuador, passing through You and on the road to Macará another 1,400 kilometers of travel and more than two days of crossing. Before Macará, we will have to cross the border.
D. The passage through Ecuador
Add and continue. However, at least this route is the one traveled by the
population, the language is Spanish, and the Cuban will believe to have left behindscams, persecutions and maximum hardships. It is not like this. What is left is
much worse.On the border with Ecuador, a yellow taxi will take you to the other side of the border.When arriving at this border, again, the thugs and scammers abound, as it seems to happen in all common border transits. The emigrant is, in these steps, the favorite source of income for many heartless. In that place the scam is insured. It is not
known to the Cuban who has not been again scammed by these yellow taxis that,
thanks to agreements with the police, bring the Cuban migrants so that they demand
all the money possible in exchange for turning a “fat” view.The solution to the equation is only one: let yourself be robbed and continue the path.
How much money have we already spent on this trip? Thousands. It is better that we
have an important source of financing, or several that, from outside and in
solidarity, help to pay a journey that is “millionaire” for a Cuban who also comes
from Guyana. Thus, the Cuban spends the entire trip calling who could give him
money. Begging, because he has entered an impossible journey, out of reach, while
his life has also been in danger on several occasions, and he will still run much
more from now on. After being robbed as a welcome to Ecuador by the yellow taxi, you must continue traveling through Macará, Cuenca, Ambato, Quito, Ibarra and Tulcán, to the border with Colombia. Another 1,000 kilometers and several days of road trip. Add and continue.
D. The passage through Colombia
Again, the border point is once again the point of fraud for Cuban migrants. Again
the police, the theater of the coyotes and, in the end, calls abroad. Meanwhile, he
falls asleep on the street, like so many times on the way, waiting for the
transaction to arrive. The cell phone is the way of entry of the Cuban. If not, it
will take months to have the money to go back on track.Once extorted and again on a bus, you reach Pasto, in Colombia. A "safe-conduct",this time real, costs many days of waiting, or $ 20 and receive it instantly,to continue on the way to Medellin by bus. 800 kilometers and two days by bus separate Pasto from Medellín.
In Medellín, the next stage is Necoclí, 380 kilometers away and 11 hours by bus.
There, a boat leads to Capurganá. The boats do not leave at any time, and you have
to reserve the place in them. Migrants may have to wait for days, up to 10, waiting
for their opportunity to take one.The trip becomes a life of complete income for the Cuban. How is it possible that they can consider a similar route?
Dissidents, human rights defenders, meet there. They meet, they know each other,
they greet each other, and they all feel sorry for each other. They have slept in
the street, they ask each other for money, the cell phone, internet to call.
A tourist pays for that boat trip 25 dollars. For a strange reason that makes the
human being want to steal where there is more misery, makes the dissident, the
Cuban migrant, charge almost 50 dollars. Another Potosí, almost 3 months of income
E. The passage to Panama
At that time there is no other possible route than to enter the Darién jungle,
passing mountain after mountain. The hill of death, the hill of honey ...
Those who have money can pay a coyote that will take them along the New Way. At
this point it is unthinkable to have the money, and more with the isolation that
the emigrant Cuban has, as to be able to undertake that path.
El Camino Viejo is the option for expatriate dissident Cubans. It is much longer
and more dangerous than the previous one.The dangerous jungle of Darien is famous for the deaths, crimes and disappearances that have taken place there, without knowing more about the people who one day entered it. Indigenous armed gangs have, this time, a more radical business than border scammers. Many meet them, and they all steal all belongings, women are raped in front of their husbands. It is also common for children to be raped. A Cuban expatriate dissident not only saw his wife raped. When he wanted to confront the natives, he was also raped himself. Out of respect for the family, this information makes no sense that relates to a proper name. But it is important that the dissent,on the island, know that these facts are real. And they are the usual thing there,we don't talk about exceptionalities.The road to the United States from Guyana, for a Cuban, is at this time, in the Darién jungle, some say, worse than the jail in Cuba. There are many who would have preferred to go to jail for years and for the regime to fulfill its threats, to what they went through this jungle.It is necessary, therefore, and this is one of the objectives of this narrative, that human rights activists on the island know that the banishment, if it is that of Guyana, or Trinidad and Tobago, when known,for many a option. It's not about it's dangerous. All this tribulation is the most unpleasant experience that most of the activists interviewed who have passed through there have lived in their entire lives, having spent it beating and arresting by the government of Cuba.Another usual cause of death is a product of the bite of the snake x, or mapaná.Mapaná (Bothrops atrox) is one of the deadliest snakes that exist. This snake is very feared for its poison, which is particularly lethal and fast acting. The average bite has 2 to 3 times the amount of lethal toxin to which the human being is tolerant. Without specialized medical attention, death occurs within a few hours.The cruelest death is caused by hunger, tiredness after being assaulted and losing everything at the hands of the indigenous gangs. Long walks through extreme places, ravines and several cliffs, all lethal in case of the slightest loss, demand an energy expenditure whereby the theft of belongings can be lethal.The water thromes in seemingly dry ravines that turn, without warning, into raging and raging torrents, have killed dozens of people at once. Just a few days ago, 12 expatriate Cubans lost their lives in this way. [one]
The mother of Bárbara Enriquez, an elderly lady of a harassed family who was
instigated and threatened by the government of Cuba, and ended up expanding, not
long ago she was also dragged by a sudden rising of the river. They never recovered
the body. [two] Once you get to Bajo Chiquito, past the jungle, it is possible to listen without stopping the saddest stories anyone can imagine. The jungle, literally as if it
were protecting itself from the human being, which seems to destroy everything
except what is defended in that way, is the source of hundreds of family
misfortunes in that town.It is easy to see ravaged parents because on the way they have lost their wife, who has left their children orphaned. A group of Cuban dissidents who recently crossed the jungle, with the same dangers as those mentioned, met some women who paid $ 500 to make an expedition in search of a sister who, apparently, was with a large swelling in one foot, something seemingly simple but that prevented him from walking. The expeditionaries brought a woman in disrepair, but she wasn't even his sister. Later, on a second expedition, they found her dead.Bajo Chiquito is an unhealthy town, where literally shelter on the porch of a house from rain and mud, costs $ 3, not even inside. There is no sewage system and the lack of hygiene causes infectious processes that are not negligible and dangerous, with which many have already lost their health.In these indigenous peoples dominated by the military forces of Panama there are very poor conditions of medical assistance, in
the same military post. Where the medical post should be, a large, clearly visible
sign clearly says: "There are no medications, please do not disturb."When you think you have reached a "safe harbor", another war begins against immigrants, diseases, scams ...
The the who the passage to the town of Peñita is done by boat. This costs $ 25 per person, but lines are endless, and the stay in Bajo Chiquito is not a good drink for those also just have $ 100 in their pocket. The way they give you a “hand” is to give
military themselves 50 dollars.Once you reach Peñita, based on disgust, the emigrants forget who gave their hands,water and help in the jungle, or who received it. It is a pack of immigrants passing over each other, a battle of privileges and discrimination based on the money each has to bribe or alter the order of arrival and natural things.Services are charged with interest of 15% or 20%. Receiving money from your family members costs that margin by using a native person who can receive it. Cuban migrants often end up drinking water in the river, something that puts them at
serious health risks, due to the murky waters.Obviously you have to get out of
there as soon as possible. The hardships have not only ended, they continue with
the same intensity or greater than in many trips. Given the shortage of money, food
is one a day, and everything costs what the Cuban cannot pay. Drinking water that
organizations such as the United Nations donate to collaborate with these peoples
are sold at the price of gold. And, thus, that small hell of exploitations that
occur in the borders of each country, in this part of the journey are exacerbated.In peñita at 8:30 or 9:00 at night a whistle sounds as if it were a curfew. It is the signal for the "immigrants" to go to their "hovels" to sleep. The regime is military, and even that is suffered. At that time, a high percentage of those who are there have lost family members,got sick, robbed them, and are in very poor conditions, as a result of the Darién jungle.
Some Cubans still remember when the President of Panama visited Peñita. As if a
Hollywood set was medicine, doctors appeared, put some tents, and everything was
conditioned. When he left, everything was dismantled as quickly or as quickly as it
was assembled.In Peñita, if family members send money to one, it is possible to buy the cellphone again from someone who stole it, an indigenous person, or an intermediary.Your same cell phone, with your contacts and everything as it was. And the military encourages this illegal trade.
Everything in Peñita and the Darien rainforest is a concussion, even more sordid
than the Guyana exit controls, or border crossings. Where migrants are most
vulnerable, is where the mafias most exploit the situation, causing death,desolation and sadness. The migrant not only has to suffer the jungle. In addition,
it must support the human being who mercilessly takes advantage of that extreme
situation. Everything is understood when arriving at Peñita. Everything is an
assembly, an extortion, an exploitation. You can't say government. More can be said
that there is no government or control, because immigrants do not vote in Panama,
the focus of course is not on their welfare, on their protection. And the mafias,
including the corrupt military, take advantage of this situation.In Peñita there is
also a bus. This leads to the last military checkpoint, that of Chiriquí. It supposedly costs $ 40. But again so as not to live an eternity of waiting, those who pay an extra to the military are paid with an important advance in the waiting position. The Cubans are not the least educated people of how many people pass through there. Rather you could say that, on the contrary. However, all those other people come, usually where the minimum monthly salary is not $ 9 a month. Any immigrant has more money than they do. That is why the Cuban, who cannot pay the military, rides in the bus, paying the nominal price and by solidarity of someone from outside in exile, or even from the island, after the days that the militarycomes to them in win.
E. The route continues, and with it the oblivion of the world
This infernal journey, the Way of Death, is the expatriation to which hundreds of
dissident Cubans, human rights activists, independent journalists, religious,
critics, contestant artists are being forced. Of all of them we have direct testimonial representation in the complaint before the United Nations that we have presented.
The next phase of the road will take you to Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras,
Guatemala, Mexico ... This part of the route has no less difficulties than the
previous ones. You sleep in the street, eat once a day, when you eat, calamities
are passed, and you call by phone daily to ask for help to continue the trip and
not be stranded as it happens for weeks and months.A hell that doesn't end. In the end, the goal is to reach the border with the United States, where no one by default will give them credit as defenders of human rights and persecuted, unless many people mobilize for it with great intensity.And another very sad part arrives for this human being. The human rights activist who,due to the circumstances we have seen, is forced to emigrate, is no longer regarded in the same way by various organizations and organizations ... He suffers, if not a total ostracism, at least a partial ostracism that restricts him much the capacity to be able to obtain solidarity. He becomes a beggar without a letter of recommendation, without history, more than the one he or she remembers ...
F. Require maximum support
It is not possible to describe human injustice and the misunderstanding that
abounds. Even so, the conversations that we have had with all the declarers of this
denunciation have moved us to the tears again and again to whom we have taken the
testimonies. There is no hate, no reproach. There is only what has always been in
them, desire to fight, keep fighting, this time for their lives, to have a better
life, and always a space to think for others, for their people and for their
brothers fighting on the island. It is true that the Castro regime snatches everything in this life, but it does not get them to introduce evil or hatred into their hearts. These are not the citizens who came out with hate, pain, and never lost him in exile. They are martyrs,accustomed to a life of a martyr, and even in their supposed dishonor, to
claudicate in the struggle for human rights, they maintain the same human quality
that set an example for them in Cuba against a horrible and perverse systematic
violation of the most basic rights humans from the omnimous political power. If theregime wants to deactivate them, not only by preventing them from being on the
island, but also by removing them as they are taken, also threatening their
conscience with the "possession" of their families as hostages in Cuba, these
exemplary human beings now need a support for their activation, because their human quality is still there, intact in the vast majority of cases, and their
contribution is invaluable to understand how we can combat the barbarism that
happened against them in Cuba and continues to happen against their peers, and the
debt with they must allow us to give them at least some social justice.
De Manaos a Porto Velho