BY THE MANILA TIMES ON JANUARY 13, 2017
PANAMA CITY: “Obama has screwed all Cubans,” Yadiel Cruz, a Cuban in Panama bitterly told Agence France-Presse on Thursday upon learning the US president has suddenly made it tougher for migrants like him to get into America.
The 33-year-old summed up what many compatriots were feeling as they digested the news in a Catholic shelter in Panama’s capital, a waypoint on their overland trek to the United States.
But, he declared, “for me, I’m not going back.”
Around him, dozens of other Cubans expressed sadness or anger.
Much of the fury was directed personally at US President Barack Obama for announcing that he has scrapped, with immediate effect, a 1995 policy that had given near-automatic entry to the US to Cubans who set foot on American soil, regardless of their visa status.
Now, like those who attempted to cross by water, they could face deportation back to Cuba unless they convince US officials they were afraid of being persecuted or had valid humanitarian reasons to be let in.
The move, made just days before Obama leaves office and hands the reins over to Donald Trump, known for his anti-immigration stance, rattled nerves, sparked frustration and evoked tears here.