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Newsline: Cubans Protest at Havana Embassy as Panama Tightens Visa Requirements

Upwards of 400 Cubans, many holding passports and plane tickets, gathered at Panama´s embassy in Havana on Wednesday protesting new visa requirements that hinder those in a growing wave of migrants hoping to pass through the Central American nation and north to the United States. Several protesters told Reuters they had already booked flights for the coming days, only to awaken this morning to the decision by Panama to require a “transit” visa for any Cuban arriving at the Panama City airport. The crowd chanted “We want a response, we want a response” behind a police cordon. Late in the afternoon, the embassy released a statement on social media clarifying the visa requirement would come into effect beginning Sunday. (https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2022-03-09/cubans-protest-at-havana-embassy-as-panama-tightens-visa-requirements) The embassy told passengers scheduled on flights to Panama between March 13 and the end of the month to rebook for a later date to allow time to apply for the $50 visa. Demand for flights from Havana to cities in Central America has soared after Nicaragua in November lifted visa requirements for Cuban nationals. This opened a new avenue for migration north to Mexico and the United States. Most direct flights are sold out, leaving multi-stop flights through neighboring countries as the only option for many Cubans.

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