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Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Yucatecans stranded after well-meaning state program ushered them abroad

Parents were reunited with their adult children who migrated to the U.S. and Canada, but getting them home is harder than expected

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The Cabecitas Blancas lets parents visit their grown children in the United States. Photo: Courtesy

When the Cabecitas Blancas program began last year, organizers could not have predicted how problematic the idea would be.

The concept was to help elder Yucatecans to reunite with family members who had settled in the United States or Canada.

Nearly 100 beneficiaries, from 23 communities in Yucatan, were part of the state-run program. Now the travelers are stranded north of the border until the coronavirus pandemic subsides and travel normalizes.

The participants are between 60 and 80 years old, and in the health contingency are considered a highly vulnerable group.

Their return was scheduled for after May 5, two months more than originally planned. But the U.S. consulate decided to extend their stay until May 31. Even that date is in doubt, as the pandemic continues.

The group of Yucatecans, mainly from Peto, Oxkutzcab, Muna and Ticul, left in February for Los Angeles, San Francisco; Portland, Oregon; Vancouver, B.C.; Washington state, and Dallas, where their sons and daughters live and work.

Cabecitas Blancas is operated by the Institute for the Development of Culture Maya of the State of Yucatan, or Indemaya.

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