Saturday, 24 October 2020

70 Costa Ricans Stranded in Cuba, Airline Says There Is No Fuel To Fly Them Home

En la imagen con fecha del domingo 10 de julio cuando turistas llegaron a Cuba. Este domingo 17 estimaban salir de la isla. (Grettel Muñoz para LN)
Tico tourists arriving in Cuba on Sunday, July 10. They were scheduled to leave on the 17th. Photo by Grettel Muñoz sent to La Nacion.

UPDATE: Grettel Muñoz confirmed that all 78 passengers that were to have returned from Cuba on Sunday, arrived in Costa Rica at 3:42pm Tuesday.

Despite the reports on Monday that their flight was cancelled due to a lack of jet fuel on the island, Pedro Negrini, operations manager in Costa Rica for Cubana airlines, said the delay was due to a technical problem with the aircraft that makes two weekly fligths (Sundays and Thursdays) between San Jose and La Habana.

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(QCostarica) A group of some 70 Costa Rican tourists are apparently stuck in La Havana (Cuba), not able to leave on Sunday as scheduled, after the Cuban airline, Cubana, cancelled their flight due to an apparent jet fuel shortage on the island.

La Nacion says it was able to confirm on Monday night with Maria Clara Muñoz Soto, the coordinator of the tour, that the group of Tico tourists – part of some 200 tourists in total – were to have left the island on Sunday, July 17.

“We are in trouble in Cuba, like as we are being retained. The point is that there is no gasoline and our flight was to have left Sunday and until now (Monday night) we have no idea when will return (to Costa Rica). I think Cubana is trying to place us on flights on Avianca and Copa at any moment. Meanwhile we are in a hotel,” said Muñoz said via Whatsapp.

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The tour organizer said they were taken to a hotel and have been provided food, but have their movements restricted. She explained that many had to return to work on Monday and are very concerned.

Another affected, Grettel Muñoz, sister of the tour organizer, also by Whatsapp said they are having difficulty with communications by telephone and internet, which are expensive and very limited.

“It is awful. We are in a hotel and given food, but as if locked up,” said Grettel.

On Friday, speaking before the People’s Assembly – Cuba’s Parliament  – President Raul Castro admitted to “a contraction” in fuel supply from Venezuela, “despite the willingness of President (Nicolas) Maduro to fulfil”.

Since 2000, Venezuela has provided the island with approximately 100,000 barrels of oil per day in exchange for professional services. The crisis in Venezuela, a main trade partner of Cuba, has affected its ability to deliver.

However, ruled out a “collapse” of the Cuban economy or return to the Special Period.

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