The story of the Cuban Idelys De La Caridad Chao Sade and her three children has ceased to be an odyssey to become a tragedy since in 2021 she was forced to travel from the island to Moscow, Russia.
Today in Athens, Greece, life has not just smiled on this woman who was an activist of the Patriotic Union of Cuba, in the Boyeros municipality.
“We have eaten from the garbage from the ships, foreigners vote for food, clothing and shoes and we have collected it,” this immigrant told Radio Television Martí from the Greek capital.
After nine months in Moscow, the family decided to try their luck in other frontiers. Thanks to the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), they obtained a transit visa to Turkey to continue on their way to Serbia, a visa-free country for Cubans.
“There began the walk, from Serbia to Macedonia, until reaching Greece. 78 kilometers cross-country and about 32 per city”, commented the woman.
Greece is a member of the European Union, but Serbia and Macedonia are not. That was the reason why she decided to move towards the Hellenic nation.
“In Serbia we were afraid of being deported because as Cubans they only give us a 90-day stay permit,” said the mother of 5-year-old Yansuani; Joshua, 14; and Yaniurka, 24.
Upon entering Greece, she was arrested and sent with her husband to the Amigdaleza Temporary Detention Center for foreigners without papers, north of Athens.
“When we were in prison they tried to kidnap my children. This country is not safe, we are afraid. There are people shooting drugs on street corners, there is racism and discrimination. I fear for my family and I don’t feel that this country can give us international protection, it has no security for us, even less by maintaining business relations with the dictatorship,” he said.
With the help of the non-profit organization Solidarity Now, which was also an activist for Independent and Democratic Cuba, she obtained a residence permit on November 7, which does not become effective for another six months, so she still has not has authorization to work.
“My children cannot go to school because of their irregular immigrant status, nor do we have the right to medical care,” she said.
To all this, he assured that he has to prioritize the roof and for this to guarantee 550 euros per month. It has not been until the summer that she has been able to work in the port, in secret, as an undocumented migrant.
“I have worked unloading containers for 24 euros a day and cleaning boats, but only in the summer, right now we are without income and we already owe the rent to the landlord. Government aid is only for permanent residents, ”he lamented, not before acknowledging that he has also survived thanks to money sent by members of the Cuban exile.
Among other efforts, the family has gone to the United States embassy in Athens five times and the response has been the same.
“I have a young daughter and two minor children in danger and all the doors I knock on, all the organizations and people I write to or go to personally tell me that they cannot help us, they do not see the danger we are in,” he said.
The lady wishes to call the attention of international entities so that they help so that her children can study, go to the doctor, grow in freedom. Only because of them has she seen her hopes of rebuilding her life outside of Cuba cut short.