May 14th, 2014 (InsideCostaRica.com) A Cuban man who claims he would be in danger if deported back to Cuba remains in Costa Rica’s Juan Santamaria International Airport after three weeks.
Yorvanky Perez de Piña has been living in the airport since his arrival on April 24th on a flight from Havana, Cuba.
Perez has apparently been on a hunger strike for the past seven days, allegedly forgoing all food and water, and the man’s Costa Rican wife says she is concerned for his health.
Yorleny Marín, the man’s wife, said each day Perez is getting weaker. “He no longer gets up, you touch his lips and they are very dry,” she said.
Perez told his wife that if he is returned to Cuba he is “going to die.”
On Monday, Marín made a personal visit to the home of President Luis Guillermo Solís and personally delivered a request for political asylum for her husband.
“He shook my hand and said he knew of the case but was not very well informed,” she said.
The visit, however, doesn’t seem to have worked. Immigration officials yesterday denied Perez’s request for asylum for the third time.
Perez had previously been living in Costa Rica since early 2012. He had traveled to Cuba and spent six months caring for his ill mother, according to Perez, but was refused re-entry to Costa Rica after returning from the trip on April 24th.
Perez had a provisional refugee ID card and a work permit but both were expired, his lawyer said, adding that Perez had never requested permanent residence despite the fact that he has been married to a Costa Rican woman since April 2012.
Last month, the couple’s lawyer filed a writ of habeas corpus aimed at getting his client released, after which the constitutional court ordered authorities to provide Perez with food and facilities for his personal hygiene and to not deport him while the matter is being resolved.
After yesterday’s ruling, Perez’s deportation seems imminent, but may pose trouble for immigration agents and fellow airline passengers.
Faced with deportation shortly after his initial arrival in the country, Perez smeared his body with his own feces. Airline personnel declined to have the feces-covered Perez board the aircraft back to Havana, to the relief of other passengers.