Authorities have deported 148 Cuban migrants from Tapachula, Chiapas, but eight of their compatriots are being sought by police after escaping from an immigration center in the same state.
The National Immigration Institute (INM) said the Cubans’ immigration status in Mexico was “irregular” and that they were flown back to their homeland on Monday.
Hours after the deportations, eight Cubans escaped from an immigration facility in Tuxtla Gutiérrez.
The migrants were transferred to the Chiapas capital on March 15 after participating in a riot at a shelter in Tapachula, during which they demanded transit visas in order to be able to travel legally to the United States.
On Monday night, they fled an immigration detention center by jumping a gate, the newspaper El Universal reported. Witnesses said that five escapees got into a taxi and that the other three headed towards a nearby park on foot.
Municipal and state police were unable to locate the men.
Meanwhile, more Cubans are in the north of the country waiting for the opportunity to request asylum in the United States — and finding work.
In Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, the presence of a growing Cuban community has given rise to a new restaurant called Little Habana.
Juárez businesswoman Cristina Ibarra used to run a restaurant serving Mexican antojitos — tacos, quesadillas, gorditas, etc. — but after building up a Cuban clientele who longed for a taste of home, she decided to change tack.
Ibarra took advantage of her Cuban customers’ love and knowledge of their food by offering them jobs, which was a welcome invitation for the migrants stranded in the city. Five Cubans now work at Little Habana, which opened Monday in the heart of Juárez.
One of the employees is Daylin, a migrant who arrived in the northern border city a month ago.
She told El Universal that she was happy about the opening of the restaurant because it will allow her to cover her expenses in Juárez.
Ibarra is also happy about the arrangement, pointing out that the Cubans both wanted and needed work because they’ve been staying in hotels while in the city.
Tony Peña, a 47-year-old Cuban and new restaurant employee, said he was aware that it could take some time for the migrants to get the opportunity to seek asylum.
In the meantime, he and his fellow countrymen and women will be able to take some comfort in having a place at which they can meet with people in the same situation and eat familiar food.
Among the dishes on Little Habana’s menu are Cuban classics such as pork in red sauce, arroz con pollo (chicken and rice), tostones (fried plantains) and caldosa (a kind of stew).
Source: El Universal (sp)