Tuesday 19 February 2013

21 Cubans who defected in Veracruz are now in Miami

Some members of the troupe in Veracruz
The 21 Cuban musicians from the 93-member Grupo Guaracheros de la Regla who defected from the carnival in Veracruz, Mexico, are now in Miami.

The musicians came as guests of the Veracruz carnival organizing committee, but never returned to their hotel last Tuesday, February 12. According migration authorities in Mexico, the musicians entered the country as tourists, and moved on to the United States without the knowledge of the Mexican government.

The group’s Mexican visas were arranged through a private company, and clearly stated that they were “visitors not allowed to engage in gainful activity."

Last Friday, February, 15, the director of the Veracruz committee, Anselmo Estandía, reported that ten members of the troupe had defected and not shown up for their return flight to Cuba. However, on Monday, February 18, Mexican authorities confirmed that a total of 21 did not make the flight scheduled for Thursday, February, 14, out of Veracruz’s Aeropuerto Internacional Heriberto Jara Corona.

As far as Mexican authorities are concerned, the Cubans have not broken any laws as long as they did not violate the labour requirements of their visa, and did not overstay their six month allowance. Local authorities in Veracruz also denied any liability, as did the state governor.

"This matter has nothing with the state government,” said Veracruz governor Javier Duarte de Ochoa. “It is a federal immigration issues. They came here legally, and had their documents in order.”

It is uncertain if the performers have broken any Cuban laws, either, given that the country has formally abolished exit permits.

(TE Wilson is the author of Mezcalero, a Detective Sánchez novel.)

Twitter: @TimothyEWilson
Email: lapoliticaeslapolitica [at] gmail [dot] com

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