Stranded in South America: Couple making an attempt to get house to Houston after journey restrictions on COVID-19 have been tightened in Argentina

Land borders in Argentina are closed and airlines are struggling to accommodate passengers on a limited number of flights back to the US

HOUSTON – A family is stranded in South America and cannot return to Houston. Last minute travel restrictions came into effect in the middle of their trip, land borders were closed and airlines cut flights to Argentina.

“This is a trip they try every year,” said Santiago Cirnigliaro.

Santiago’s parents, Carlos and Graciela, had themselves vaccinated, masked, and drove to Buenos Aires, Argentina, on June 19. It was supposed to be a short two-week trip visiting sick family members.

“You should fly back on Saturday and land in Dallas on Saturday and fly back to Houston,” Santiago said. “You should be home by now.”

But COVID-19 had other plans. The virus is still raging in Argentina. It prompted the country to seal off land borders and now only 600 international travelers are allowed to enter the country every day. That means US airlines have started canceling flights.

“When you talk to the airlines, they say they won’t be able to do anything before August 1st,” said Santiago.

And that’s when COVID cases start to decline. If not, Carlos and Graciela could wait a lot longer. And that’s not an option. Graciela needs heart medication that runs out within days and Carlos has a job to return to.

“You are stressed,” said Santiago.

The family explored the trip to neighboring Uruguay to fly home from there.

“When everything is closed, there is nothing they can do,” said Santiago.

The US embassy in Argentina was also a dead end. And now Santiago is hoping lawmakers like Senator Ted Cruz can step in to get these two stranded Houstonians home.

“After a year of COVID-19, people are still stuck abroad, we want to solve the problem and bring them home,” said Santiago.

US airlines have a handful of flights from Argentina to the US in the next few days. It all ends on July 12th.

American Airlines sent us this statement:

“We are currently operating a limited number of flights to and from Argentina according to the country’s current restrictions. We apologize to our customers for any inconvenience while we work to accommodate our passengers. “

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