'An Idiotic Situation'
It was "an idiotic situation," Cespedes told Ekho Moskvy, expressing surprise that his appeals to immigration services, governmental agencies and human rights ombudsman Vladimir Lukin were ignored for 47 days.
He was able to see his wife occasionally during the ordeal, such as when she bought return tickets from St. Petersburg to Helsinki to keep him company on board the ferry, Russia Today reports. And the crew of the ferry also seemed to show pity on him, providing Cespedes with a cabin and also reportedly offering him work as a waiter in one of the vessel's restaurants.
Yelena Dunayeva, chief migration officer for the St. Petersburg and the Leningrad region, counters that the situation was Cespedes' own fault.
"I don't know who thought of putting him on a ferry," she told the Russian state news agency RIA-Novosti, according to The Moscow Times. "He should have sorted out his entry ban up front instead of later accusing the border and migration services of callousness."
Tears And Smiles
Cespedes, however, has only won temporary respite. Russian officials have yet to decide on whether they will allow him to stay in the country.
"I can't yet say what we'll do," continued Dunayeva. "The situation is extremely complicated."
Adding to his woes, Cespedes is also facing immigration trouble in his native Cuba, which requires a visit every 11 months if one doesn't want to risk losing certain rights. But it is a trip that Cespedes says he cannot afford.
Russia Today reports that Russian film director Alexei Zlobin is now planning a documentary about Cespedes' adventure, which is reminiscent of that of Mehran Karimi Nasseri, an Iranian refugee who was forced to live in the departure lounge at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris from 1988 to 2006. The story inspired the "The Terminal," a Hollywood film starring Tom Hanks.
Zlobin told the St. Petersburg city portal Fontanka.ru that the Cuban is recovering at home with his family, but that he is afraid of what might happen in the future.
"He just cries and says nothing," the director told the paper. "Sometimes, however, he smiles with joy and almost jumps with joy."
Intellpuke: You can read this Spiegel article in context here: www.spiegel.de/international/world/cuban-sails-baltic-sea-for-two-months-after-denied-russian-visa-a-845076.html