Cubans, victims of coronavirus in the borders

Marlon Martorell and his wife Kenia traveled from Cuba to Central America looking to meet with their family in the United States. They had to flee due to the constant harassment from the State’s authorities as a consequence of their work as political opponents and human rights defenders. Currently, they are in the US-Mexico border, waiting for the situation to improve.

Being outside my country, Cuba, far from my family and friends, I am one of the coronavirus victims in Mexico. I am at the mercy of a ruthless health care system, as is the Mexican health system. If you do not have health insurance, you do not get medical care and they leave you outside the hospital, as it happened to me. I was completely dehydrated as a consequence of the diarrhoea and the inanition of more than 10 days virtually without eating, but they denied testing me for the COVID-19. According to them, they did not have enough tests, so they sent people to private places where they charge you up to $1.500 Mexican pesos (59€) for the test. I feel that I survived thanks to our Lord almighty, the conditions, under which I passed the virus and under which I am still not cured, were inhuman.


I believe in Cuba a good work has been done at fighting the COVID-19 in terms of hospitals and similar departments. In contrast, the police officers are beating, finning and sometimes imprisoning people for not wearing a mask. However, they concentrate crowds in endless queues of hundreds of persons to sell soaps, small packages of chicken or one litre of sunflower oil per person.


My wife and I get out of Cuba running away. For years, we were victims of the Cuban political police. We were afraid that at the end, after going through so many things (including attacks against my life), I was going to be imprisoned. We wanted to go across Mexico seeking to apply for asylum in the United States where we can be safe next to my daughter, who is a US citizen, and my grandson, in
addition to a brother, who also is a citizen, and two nephews, refugees there and all of them fighters for Cuba’s freedom. Finding myself 50 years old in Mexico, far from any relative´s help while being sick of COVID-19 and suffering hypertension, with no money and with no work, as I was fired from theSoriana store I worked, due to my illness, all the process has been really tough.


My wife and I are in Mexico completely helpless, at the mercy of crime and other unscrupulous people who engage in kidnapping
and drug trafficking. Additionally, the borders closure between both countries has paralyzed our asylum process.


As a result of this, along with the risks that arise from being a political activist against the Cuban dictatorship, I am urged to be provided with political asylum in the United States and finally meet with the part of my family that lives there. Everything is getting harder; we do not even have a lawyer or legal advice of any type.


The situation of other Cubans in the borders is similarly hard, the lack of work, the latent danger of being victim of drug traffickers or kidnappers, in addition to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Cuban, not having work, neither has health insurance, and does not have money, nor can pay a private clinic remaining completely helpless since people are dying in front of public hospitals.

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