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Monday 25 March 2019
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Cuban protesters seek UN meeting

Cuban asylum seekers outside camping infront the United Nations building in Port of Spain
PHOTO BY AZLAN MOHAMMED
Cuban asylum seekers outside camping infront the United Nations building in Port of Spain PHOTO BY AZLAN MOHAMMED

MORE than 100 Cubans continued their protest outside United Nations (UN) House today as they seek to have an immediate meeting with UN officials on their applications for asylum.

Some of the Cubans tied themselves to the gate of UN House, Chancery Lane, Port of Spain with garbage bags. At about 11am the police arrived, but by that time the protesters had untied themselves.
The police eventually left without incident.

The Cubans are seeking to have applications for asylum expedited by the United Nations Human Rights Agency. Spokesperson Osmel Borges told Newsday at this point they are prepared to "go anywhere." He said the Cubans, some of whom have been in TT for the past three years, cannot access work permits and their children cannot attend schools due to lack of local legislation dealing with refugees and asylum-seekers. He said UN officials told them they would meet with them on Tuesday but they wanted to have a meeting immediately.

TT flag flies while Cuban asylum seekers Mario Quintana and his wife Yaima Parra hands 'chained' to the UN fence on the pavement outside the the UN offices Port of Spain
PHOTO BY AZLAN MOHAMMED

Fellow spokesperson Andris Moiset says the group is showering and using the bathroom at a nearby apartment and sometimes they have to use a park or KFC to relieve themselves. He added some locals have been assisting them with food, water and medicine. The original protesters says they were pacifist protesters of the “totalitarian” system in Cuba.

At the start of the month about eight Cubans began camping out on the pavement outside UN House saying they were evicted from the Living Water Foundation in St Joseph because they were unable to pay their rent. The protesting group, however, has swelled to more than 100.

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

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