How we tried to get to the USA

We had a flight from Minsk, Belarus to the NYC (JFK airport) with a transfer in Istanbul, Turkey. We were denied for boarding on the flight from Istanbul to New York (JFK).

Me (Vadim Miterev) and my wife – Olga Ganzha together with our cat, as well as our friends – Aleksandr Nikita, Vera Nikita and their nine-year Son Egor dispatched from Minsk on the 1st of January 2021 (7.55 a.m., Minsk time) when there was no any official information about the prolongation of the President’s Trump proclamation. As we know, there are about 12 families from Belarus with the same situation.

As you know the situation in Belarus is still very difficult and, the Belarusian citizens are suffering from the repressions of the authorities. Our Diversity Visas are valid till the 15th of March’2020 and we decided to try despite the risk of prolongation of the proclamation 10014. We have bought the tickets with the option of changing the flight date but we couldn’t even imagine that it could be prolonged at the very last moment. If the news about proclamation 10014 prolongation was officially published on 30th or even in the beginning of 31st of December 2020 we have no questions about this decision of Mr. Trump. But we can’t understand the necessary of such action (prolongation of the proclamation at the last moment). This fact can only be explained by pre-planned meanness and inhuman attitude to DV holders.I am sure that nobody of the people that have already passed through the challenge of obtaining the diversity visas did not deserve such kind of attitude from the President’s administration.

I will briefly describe the situation in the Istanbul’s Airport for your understanding. A lot of DV holders from the different Countries (Belarus, Ukraine, Albania, Moldova etc.) arrived to the Istanbul’s airport for the transfer to the US. A lot of families has a children or/and pets, most of them has a lot of luggage. And all of these people are not able to flight to the US, there is no possibility to return the cost of tickets from the Istanbul to the US or to change this tickets and to return home. I don’t know about the situation with flights to other countries, but we were not able to return to Belarus in the same day. We had to buy the tickets from Istanbul to Minsk by the higher price than the tickets from Minsk to New York (JFK) that we have bought before. In addition we had to book the room in the airport’s hotel because we were warried about the health of our cat. And we managed to return only 50% of the price we’ve paid for apartment in Brooklyn. I did not calculated the total value of our additional fees yet because I don’t know whether the Turkish Airline will return us the money for the tickets we did not use, but I guess that in any case it will be about USD 2000 (the average salary in Belarus is about USD 350, so the mentioned amount is quite significant to us).

It is hard to describe all details of this horrible day. People had to look at the suffering of their children and pets without understanding whow long it could lasts. Nobody were going to help us or at least to explain all details of the situation. As a result we had to agree on any conditions and to pay any money to return home. I believe that people should be informed of this fact of flagrant injustice towards DV-holders.