Reinaldo Rodríguez Martínez is 31 years old and is originally from Holguín, a city in eastern Cuba in which the story places the first landing of Christopher Columbus, in October 1592. He left the island bound for Nicaragua on April 7th. He was accompanied by three friends. Once landed in Managua, they traversed Honduras and Guatemala and crossed to Mexico through the river, the porous border with Central America.
It is currently located in Tapachula, in the hotel Yacaamo, north of the municipality. There he was on Tuesday 28 May when, around 19:00 hours, he was surprised by a raid involving agents of the National Institute of Migration (INM), Federal police and army. The operation was developed in two establishments: the Yacaamo and the coffee plantation. Migration has not provided data on how many foreigners were detained for being in an irregular situation. Rodríguez Martínez says that in his lodging, at least five were arrested.
«All this is a political persecution against the Cubans. We are afraid to leave the hotel, migration can arrive, grab us and put us in jail, «says the Cuban, who studied physical culture in his country and worked at the National Sports Institute. In fact, it is not called Reinaldo, but this is the name given when asked. He’s afraid that if he identifies, he can suffer reprisals.
READ: Government pursues migrants and leaves a human rights discourse in promise
To prove the harassment that the INM submits to the Cuban community, Rodríguez Martínez sends through Messenger a video of a local information of Chiapas. It sees the agents entering the hotel, and residents of the area expressing their support for the migrants. Explains that he was in his room, that the uniformed did not enter and that he did not come out because he was afraid. He says he does not know the people they took, but he is sure that if they did not have his papers in order it was because they had gone to the offices of the Mexican Refugee Assistance Commission (Comar), but they were collapsing.
The raid has generated discomfort among hotel owners on the southern border. Martha Villaseñor, President of the association that groups the sector, says that the agents were not aggressive, but does not see necessary «all the paraphernalia», as it frightens tourists. The paradox, according to the businesswoman, is that migrants staying in hotels are Cubans who are in the process of regulating their situation. «Illegals Go the other way, they don’t do that spending,» he says.
Political Animal wanted to know the version of the INM, but did not get an answer.
The increase in the pressure of the migratory agents generates tension in people like Rodríguez Martínez, who says that he barely leaves the hotel, he has no job and is wasting his savings. He says he has asked for shelter in Mexico, although staying in Chiapas was not in his plans. He says his goal is to reach Kentucky, where he is part of his family. He says he does not agree with the political system that governs Cuba since the Revolution of 1959, and that is why he left. To ask for asylum in the United States should reach the northern border and not have asked for papers in Mexico. «They have forced Me,» he denounces.
Rodríguez Martínez is stranded in Chiapas. Asylum seekers have to wait for a long process in which they are obliged to remain in the state in which they sought refuge.
The Comar has a period of 45 days extensible to another 45, to be handed the papers. But the institution is collapsed, so the Cuban could spend a lot more time trapped. In addition, if you become a refugee, you will be able to cross Mexico, but you will not be able to apply for protection in the United States, because it is understood that you have already found a safe place where you are not persecuted: Mexico, the place where you do not want to stay.
«I have not advanced because the Mexican authorities do not give papers. We have been mistreated, we have avasallados, we are afraid that we seize migration. We just want to cross the country to America, «he says.
Your stay is not being easy, he says.
«When we arrived we were conned with a fake visa. We were given the contact of a migration person who towards the visas for 1.000 dollars. I went out with a bus to Tuxtla Gutierrez but they stopped me and asked me for the documents at Huixtla, «he explains. In the end, the agents allowed him to ask for a taxi and turn around without being arrested or locked up in the 21ST century migratory station. Yet he says he’s afraid. That’s why he asked for asylum and waiting, trapped in a hotel, to have the Coma respond to his request.
READ: Why Mexico has deported more Cubans in 5 months than all 2018
The operation provoked the anger of hotel owners, who believe that pressure on establishments can cause customers to decline. In the hotels Yacaamo and coffee plantations do not speak. They refer to the words of the President of the association, who on Friday night held a meeting with different government agencies. The meeting was attended by Carmen Yadira de los Santos, a migration delegate in the state of Chiapas, as well as representatives of the Public Prosecutor’s Office, the Federal police and the establishments concerned.
The practice of entering hotels to stop migrants and lock them up was common a few years ago, especially when the southern border plan was launched during the presidency of Enrique Peña Nieto. «Immigration revisions were very common before. The skirting system was to take people to a hotel and have them there. That’s over, «Villaseñor says. The hotel representative remembers that the establishments «we are not migratory agents or police, we do not have to ask».
Villaseñor explains that the debate between his association and the migratory institutions focuses on whether it is legal or not that agents enter their establishments. «We say no and they do,» he says.
They will remain operative, but «more discreet»
On Friday 31 both parties held a meeting in Tapachula. According to Villaseñor, the INM said it will keep the operatives but will try to make them more discreet. «They committed themselves to discretion and to explain to us how to act when they come,» he explains.
A new meeting will be held on Wednesday between the hotel people of the southern border and the various authorities related to migration. In it, the INM plans to explain to the entrepreneurs what their rights and duties are, and how to behave before an operative. Political Animal wanted to obtain the version of the institution directed by Tonatiuh Guillén, but there was no answer.
«It’s a fact they’re going to continue,» Villaseñor says about the raids.
In addition to operating in hotels and motels, the political Animal published last Saturday that increased pressure on migrants is also reflected in the official figures.
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According to data from the INM, only in May 22694 migrants were detained without documents, and deported to 15654.
This last figure represents an increase of 119% compared to May last year, when the INM arrested 10350 people. And, if compared to the same month of 2017, the increase is still much higher: up to 220%.
In just the first five months of this 2019, the INM detained 74031 migrants, 36% more than last year, and 105% more than in 2017, with April and May when there was an escalation of intensity in the migratory control , as evidenced by another fact: between January and May of this year, the catches were shot 175%. While in the same period last year, it only increased 12%.
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