Cuban Trapped in Airport Granted Refugee Status

July 28, 2006

In a scenario straight out of the heartwarming Hollywood movie “Terminal” starring popular U.S. actor Tom Hanks, a Cuban immigrant was stranded in Juan Santamaría International Airport, north of San José, for more than two weeks after he was apprehended trying to enter Costa Rica with falsified documents. Because he then requested refugee status, he could not be deported to Cuba.

Johandry Núñez, 27, was detained July 6 by airport authorities when he attempted to enter the country with a falsified visa.

Núñez, who arrived on a flight from Mexico, claimed to be a refugee fleeing religious persecution in Cuba. He said the government threatened him for committing “acts against the system” and did not allow him to continue his studies, according to the daily La Nación.

After 16 days in the airport, during which Núñez was allowed to freely move about the boarding areas and converse with passengers, Assistant Director of Immigration Xinia Sossa announced he met all the conditions of a refugee and was allowed to enter Costa Rica.

 

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