Roque: After ‘La Ruta de Roque’ saves Cuban refugees, Syrians are next


West New York Mayor Felix Roque says he still has a lot of work to do for “La Ruta de Roque,” his personal mission to bring Cuban refugees to America, but when he’s finished, he plans on helping Syrian refugees next.


“John, what I’m doing is bringing public awareness to a crisis: we have a Cuban crisis, we’ve got refugees sitting in the border now of Nicaragua and Costa Rica, in deplorable conditions – without food, without shelter,” Roque told Hudson County View after Wednesday evening’s board of commissioners meeting.

“And I always say I’m very thankful for the government of Costa Rica because they at least allowed them to stay there, in contrast to government of Nicaragua – which actually got ’em out of the country with rubber bullets and tear gas – which to me, was not acceptable.”

Roque, who was born in Cuba before coming to the United States as a youth, has been traveling across the globe since just before the end-of-year holiday season to give his fellow countrymen a better life.

The mayor/pain management specialist says his personal mission has brought him to Panama three times, “Costa Rica multiple times” and just returned from a trip to the Nuevo Laredo/Mexico border a week-and-a-half ago.

While on his most recent trip, Roque met a young boy named Salmonito who has a heart condition. He’s currently staying in Miami, Florida, but Roque hopes to move him to Hudson County soon, where he says the Jersey City Medical Center has already agreed to treat him for free.

“I’m just trying to make a difference and that’s basically how I feel about this whole situation. It’s a shame that we’re living in such a great life … I’m blessed to have what I have, but when I see people suffering it bothers me because I remember when I came from Cuba and it was pretty sad.”

“I’m making a difference, God has been good to me, and guess what? I’m gonna continue making a difference.”

Roque added that 15 to 20 immigrants are currently staying in New Jersey and that, overall, 130 to 150 are now residing in the United States and that his sights are currently set on bringing over 53 Cuban doctors stuck in Venezuela – as well as 1,500 immigrants near the Panama-Costa Rica border.

Roque corroborated the figure listed in the New York Times, $250,000, as the amount of money he’s spent on this endeavor. “Actually, now it might be a little more,” he said when asked to verify the number.

“I’m not counting and I’m enjoying what I’m doing. So this is something that I always wanted to do: I did it when they had the earthquake in Colombia, I did it when they had the flood in the Dominican Republic and Haiti, and I enjoy doing this.”

“This is why I became a doctor. This is why I became the mayor: I enjoy what I do.”

The figure is the same amount of money the State Attorney General’s Office alleges Roque took in a bribery/kickback scheme involving a medical imaging company.

Roque has since pleaded not guilty to the charges and has previously stated his attorneys are pushing for a speedy trial.

When asked when the La Ruta de Roque mission is finished, he said once the refugees are moved out of Panama, Venezuela, Costa Rica and Honduras, he said his next mission is to help the Syrian refugees.

“I believe we’re all immigrants, at one time or the other, all our relatives came from another country, so I’m gonna try help them too. It’s not gonna stop.”



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  1. >>> The figure is the same amount of money the State Attorney General’s Office alleges Roque took in a bribery/kickback scheme involving a medical imaging company. >>>

    What a coincidence. I’m sure he and his lawyers will make a big deal of his “charitable works” if and when it comes time for him to be sentenced.
    This lowlife coward will do anything to stay out of jail. He thinks he can do the crime but not do the time.

  2. Very odd..only one reply. are there only two people willing to say it’s ridiculous for the mayor of West New York to be using the time he was elected for people from outside of this town and then make a crazy statement like he’s going to help Syrians next? IN effect, a theft of services has occurred by him using all this time to be other places; it is stolen time from the town and the people of West New York. It is a good service to help others, a philanthropic endeavor and truly may you be blessed for the work you are doing, however it is a misguided effort..When you drove one foot out of West New York you turned your back on all of west New Yorkers; Cubans, Dominicans, Puerto Ricans, el Salvadorians,Italians; Honduras, Irish German etc etc all of us American, all of us West New Yorkers.regardless of whether someone voted for you -you are bound and obligated to them as a steward of this town. The worst is, all those people you took money from, the donators the contributors ,the people who at every single one of your birthdays had to come up with $1,000 for you! Shame on you Dr. it is time for you to step down.I’m going to use this forum to ask you ;will you step down as mayor now? or stop this philanthropic work until your term is up.You cannot serve two masters , either want to help west New Yorkers as you dedicated your time and money to in the two election year and all you want to help people from your former country where you were born. You can’t have it both ways and truly believe that you are being genuine to the people of West York.. So, step down. It is time for you to go and then you can do all the good deeds and philanthropic work you want ,, with no repercussions to the people of West York.Thank goodness there are so many other outside elected officials running this town or we would have been doomed by now. But even that is improper ,we should have a proper town representative and you are not that person -doctor.and really???take that doctors jacket off before you come in the courtroom.We all know you are a doctor as you have put the title before the title mayor.What’s wrong with your ego?