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Cubans Trapped In Panama Hoping For A Way In

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The end of "wet foot, dry foot" is causing heartbreak and anxiety here in South Florida.

Much of the same is happening in other places where Cubans are trying to escape the Castro regime, like a holding center in Panama City, Panama.

Eugenia Diaz Hernandez, a member of the Ladies In White, is being held at the Caritas Center.

She said many will go on with their journey to the U.S. while others will wait to see what happens.

Hernandez said Panama is not granting work permits. So unless they can get to the states, there's not much hope.

Yanisel Guisado Wilson is also stuck in Panama.

He says his family has no money, and therefore they have no way to continue their journey.

"Please President Obama," he said, "Donald Trump is about to start his term. At the very least, support us because we do not want to go back to Cuba. I'm not going to Cuba."

And then there's Malena Caraballo.

"All we want," she said, "is to reach the U.S. in order to work, to have freedom, to prosper, to not be humiliated."

She says Cubans are not afraid of work.

But then she speaks to the concerns some have expressed about some migrants who come merely for the American safety net.

"We do not want the benefits," she said. "But if we get them, we'll be thankful."

Meanwhile, at the U.S. embassy in Havana, there are longer than usual lines for Cubans looking to apply for visas to get to the U.S.

A 10-year-old student told a reporter the process has been really hard because her family has had to visit embassy many times. But on Friday they got their visa.


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