Monday 13 July, 2020

Cuban refugees: Trinis have been kind to us

Photo courtesy Alina Doodnath.

Photo courtesy Alina Doodnath.

A group of Cuban asylum seekers camped outside of the Trinidad and Tobago United Nations office for the past two weeks said so far Trinbagonians have been very helpful and kind to them.

Speaking to LoopTT, members of the group said that although they are living on the street, citizens have been kind by sending them food, medicine and other supplies.


“We really appreciate all the Trinidadian people who are bringing us food. Every night food we got food and clothes, so we appreciate it,” he said.

He added that the police have been assisting by carrying out patrols to ensure they are safe, after some members of the group were robbed of their cell phones earlier this week.

The group of over 100 refugees includes two children, who are also staying on the street and have not attended school for some time.

The group has been bathing and changing at a nearby apartment however they said they do not have a proper place to stay. 

The refugees, some of whom arrived in Trinidad from Cuba approximately two years ago, said that their makeshift camps on the street are not ideal, but as they are not allowed to work, they cannot afford a place to stay.

One man said they attended a meeting with the UN on Tuesday afternoon, however, they were told that at this time nothing could be done to assist with their needs.

“Yesterday we had a meeting and they denied everything, for them to help us, they denied to help us. They said they can’t help us at all. We just want help, at least from the government, as to where to stay. It’s a humanitarian thing. Help us like human beings,” he said.

The refugees have been asking to be allowed to work so they can provide for themselves and their families with food and lodging.

Alternatively they would like to be relocated to a country where refugees are given more humanitarian treatment.

Up to November 14, 2018, over 100 refugees were camped outside of the UN office.

According to a source, some UN staff members were not in the building as a result of the demonstration.

In Sep­tem­ber, eight Cuban asy­lum seek­ers who were ar­rest­ed for il­le­gal­ly camp­ing out­side UN House were re­leased af­ter their case was dis­missed.

The UN said it will be issuing a statement soon on the matter.


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