A group of undocumented Cuban immigrants who were supposedly “snatched” from Mexican immigration authorities by an armed commando on June 11 in the southeastern state of Chiapas have been located in Hidalgo, Tex., Mexican authorities said on June 18. The Mexican Attorney General’s Office (PRG) will investigate nine employees of the National Migration Institute (INM) in connection with the incident, according to officials.
The Mexican navy detained 33 Cubans on June 8 in the eastern state of Quintana Roo. On June 10 the INM decided to move the Cubans and four Central American immigrants to a detention facility in Tapachula, Chiapas, claiming that the facilities in Quintana Roo were full. A group of six to nine heavily armed men in masks “kidnapped” the 37 immigrants in Chiapas on June 11 while they were being transported to Tapachula by seven unarmed INM agents and two bus drivers. The immigrants were then reportedly taken to Palenque, Chiapas, and through Tabasco and Veracruz to Reynosa, Tamaulipas, where they crossed the international bridge to Hidalgo. Apparently they had been supplied with false documents and had no trouble with either Mexican or US authorities. According to the Mexican daily La Jornada, 23 Cubans were found in Texas, while the Associated Press put the number at 18. The location of the other Cubans and the four Central Americans was unknown.
The immigrants’ route took them through areas where the so-called “Gulf Cartel” operates; the group has been linked to people smuggling as well as drug trafficking. Chiapas justice secretary Amador Rodriguez Lozano charged that the “Miami mafia”—right-wing Cuban Americans living in Florida—financed the operation. Cuba’s ambassador to Mexico, Manuel Aguilera had made a similar suggestion the weekend of June 13. (La Jornada, June 19; El Diario-La Prensa, June 20 from AP [print edition only])
From Weekly News Update on the Americas, June 22
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