Relatives of Bolivians stuck in Barcelona ask for a way out: “We are desperate”

Alex Gutierrez Paez

Barcelona, ​​April 3 (EFE).- The families of 69 Bolivians arrested for not having a valid visa on a cruise ship in the port of Barcelona are waiting and asking the authorities for solutions: “We are. Desperate.”

Barcelona is the final destination for these affected Bolivian passengers, but not for all the cruise passengers, about 1,500 on board, who hope to be able to continue their route through the Mediterranean to Croatia once the problem is resolved.

The ship comes from São Paulo (Brazil) and, among other stops, stopped in Malaga, where Bolivian citizens did not arrive, but they had already received a notification from the authorities about the problem with their documentation, according to sources consulted by Efe.

The victims decided to continue to Barcelona, ​​which was their final destination and where the ship landed yesterday, Tuesday.

The Bolivians kept inside the ship are taking advantage of the time they have to board the MSC Armonia cruise ship and see relatives and friends in the Catalan capital waiting for them at the cruise terminal. From a distance that barely allows communication with them.

They report fraud

“They boarded the ship thinking their visas were valid, but when they arrived in Malaga they discovered they were the victims of a fraud by a travel agency,” explains Luis Mario Celaya, who has lived in Barcelona for 20 years and lives with EFE. The condition of his nephew who boarded the ship is appalling.

Celaya says in a voice broken from exhaustion and sadness that a few days ago her nephew called her and was coming to make a surprise, but they didn’t let her in Malaga and she didn’t know if it would end in the end. to be able to see it.

Zelaya explained that he first went to Málaga to pick up his nephew, but was then informed that since his destination was Barcelona, ​​he would be landing in the Catalan city.

“It’s not easy to be here because we live from what we work and it’s a lot of hours,” laments Zelaya, who claims to have been at the port of Barcelona since 7am and stayed until midnight yesterday. .

Indeed, combining this situation with suitable jobs is one of the problems of many family members, as in the case of Florencio Acuña, who arrived on Saturday from Palma de Mallorca because his daughter and granddaughter are on a cruise.

“The company called me in the morning because they told me where I am, I have to work. I asked them to stay because my relatives are having a very bad time,” Akunya explains.

Another who traveled from another part of Spain is Juan Carlos Medrano, who arrived in Barcelona this Tuesday from Navarre to see his sister, also engaged on the ship.

“I don’t eat, I barely drank a cup of coffee; Some of us stayed in the cars to sleep,” said this relative of one of the affected Bolivians.

Care for children

One of the biggest concerns of those close to the Bolivians detained on the cruise ship is the welfare of the minors, who will be on the ship after three weeks.

“We are desperate, yesterday the children appeared and were crying,” says Neisa Ledes, who has come to see her sister with other relatives.

Ledes notes that, unlike the next cruise destinations, most of the detained Bolivians “have family in Barcelona who are willing to take care of them.”

“We want to know what they are going to do with them; If they have to be deported, they should do it, but they shouldn’t continue as they are now,” argued Patricia Alanoka, another relative waiting at the port of Barcelona for someone to shed light on the uncertainty. who lives

The government is managing the case

The Catalan government delegation said that these Bolivian citizens do not have a valid visa to enter the Schengen area and, in this context, they are working together with the National Police, the Bolivian authorities and MSC Cruises to speed up the procedures to take the appropriate administrative measures. and resolve your situation as soon as possible. ”

The Bolivian government also said its embassy in Spain and the South American country’s consulate general in Barcelona were “taking the appropriate steps to resolve the matter”.

Sources at MSC Cruises told EFE that they are working with Spanish authorities to manage the situation, noting that these passengers “appear to have the appropriate documentation when boarding in Brazil.”

For its part, the Federation of Bolivian Units (Fedebol) in Barcelona told EFE that the unit “received three families coming from Palma and Bilbao” while “the others stayed with relatives living in Barcelona”.

The same organization emphasized that the competent authorities are “meeting” to solve the problem and that if the situation is not solved, they will return in the afternoon, as yesterday, to visit the relatives of the affected Bolivians.

Source: El Diario

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