Some truths about illegal migration by Cubans
In view of the right of people to migrate, our country has managed, gradually, to put in order the legislation in force. Cubans can travel to any part of the world, if they comply, logically, with the regulations established by other countries.
March 30, 2022 20:03:37
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
Human migrations date back to time immemorial. So much so that many theories suggest that, thanks to them, it was possible to populate different regions of the planet.
Although the reasons for migrating are diverse, they are generally due to the search for better living conditions. That is why wars, extreme poverty or the complexity of the economic, individual or social environment are triggers for this phenomenon.
Although there are global efforts to promote legal and orderly migration, and to recognize and respect the guarantees and rights of those who make this decision, regardless of their legal status, we are still far from achieving this.
There is no consensus on this issue and, therefore, irregular and disorderly migration is today a latent problem whose solution is not yet on the horizon.
CUBA, AN EXCEPTIONAL CASE?
In view of the right of people to migrate, our country has gradually managed to put in order the legislation in force. Cubans can travel anywhere in the world, if they comply, logically, with the regulations established by other nations.
But what makes Cuba an exceptional case in terms of immigration? The answer is well known. For decades, in their eagerness to destabilize the revolutionary process, to build the myth of its “inefficiency” in terms of the standard of living offered to the people, and to create before the world the idea that this is a country in decline, successive U.S. governments have hindered the legal channels for the emigration of Cubans to that nation.
On the other hand, they promote special regulations for those born on the Island, thus stimulating both the illegal departure of Cubans and their attempt to reach that nation by means of the dangerous routes that involve several countries of the continent.
The reestablishment of diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba, during the mandate of Barack Obama, and the reopening of its Embassy in Havana, gave a certain change of color to the matter, even though the agreed number of visas was never reached. However, Donald Trump’s administration reversed everything that had been achieved, and went so far as to suspend consular services and force Cubans to travel to other countries to apply for their visas.
His successor, Joe Biden, has maintained the line of action regarding Cuba, and although he recently announced that certain procedures at the Embassy would be resumed, it does not seem that things will change much.
Such circumstances, together with the economic difficulties generated by the terrible pandemic-blockade duet, stimulated the departure from the country of thousands of Cubans who, although they leave the archipelago legally, once in the stopover country, become illegal migrants in order to reach the USA at the mercy of extortion and extortion.
AT THE MERCY OF EXTORTION AND HUMAN TRAFFICKING
Since the triumph of the Revolution in 1959, Cuba has been a pillar in the fight to eradicate human trafficking. It is a crime severely punished in the largest of the Antilles, while in much of the world it is still a very profitable business and, of course, irregular migrants immediately become a highly vulnerable group.
Although it is sad to admit it, in our continent operate dissimilar networks dedicated to the trafficking of human beings. Perhaps the best known figures within this dark web are the so-called coyotes, whose function is basically to outwit or bribe the authorities, and drive migrants through border crossings.
These groups, outside of any law, move exclusively for monetary interests, without any commitment to the people they drive. Therefore, if they get lost, they are capable of abandoning, handing over and, in the worst case, but no less frequent, murdering their companions.
Therefore, once the illegal transit route begins, these are the people in whose hands our nationals find themselves. Have Cubans been swindled, intimidated, suffered from rape to other physical aggressions, have been threatened and some have been murdered? Yes. That is the risk they run, and it is, many times, the high price they pay.
WHERE DOES THE MONEY COME FROM?
It is incredible how the obsession to “leave” robs people of their common sense. Logically, a journey of this magnitude needs economic support, since it begins with the request for the necessary documentation, the purchase of the ticket and then, of course, the payment to those who guide the transit.
To pay for the project, there are those who sell everything and get rid of practically all their belongings, often at lower prices, to save time. Since there is no certainty of completing the trip, many have found themselves in the difficult situation of returning and having literally nothing.
On the other hand, faced with the impossibility of legally reclaiming their relatives, Cubans living abroad assume the cost of a trip that is, by all accounts, uncertain.
The amount of money, in turn, determines the conditions of the journey. Therefore, some have better guarantees of transportation, food, even lodging, while others must face, for example, the real possibility of being swallowed up by the Darien jungle in Panama.
The truth is that, whatever the amount, I don’t think it will ever pay the value of life.
CUBA IS ALWAYS IN THE HEADLINES
The migratory issue does not escape the constant media attack to which our country is subjected. That is the reason why, although thousands of Latin Americans undertake the same journey every day, they do not grab the headlines that Cubans do.
As it is to be expected, none of those headlines begins by saying, for example: “Unilateral measures of the United States incite illegal migration of Cubans”. Of course not.
The most common, sensationalist and malicious ones are focused in ways such as: “Cubans flee desperate for the prevailing situation on the Island”, or “Cubans prefer to be swallowed by the Darien before continuing to live in their country”.
This serves to understand that nothing escapes manipulation when it comes to our country, and that always, whatever the causes of a problem may be, blaming the socialist system or the Revolutionary Government will be the preferred hypothesis.
TO EMIGRATE OR NOT TO EMIGRATE?
It would be naïve and false to deny that Cuba is living today a complex situation. Undoubtedly, the necessary battle against the pandemic, aggravated by such a criminal policy as the blockade, prevented the achievement of objectives aimed at giving a new breath of fresh air to the Cuban economy.
However, it is very unfair to say that this has happened because of the government’s inability or lack of political will and efforts to move forward. It is also uncertain that there is a critical situation in Cuba, to such an extent that it forces its citizens to flee, in the same way as those who flee, for example, from a war.
Inflation, yes, price speculation, shortages, all this is real, as is the fact that basic services essential for the people were never stopped, that the standard family basket of goods was never not distributed fairly, that no hospital was closed, that there were no massive layoffs, that the private sector was protected from the bankruptcy of its businesses, that it has been vaccinated, at no cost to the people.
The decision to leave, even at the risk of one’s life, is an individual one, it is up to the free will of each person. Everyone has their own reasons and no one intends to question them.
It is worth mentioning that this Island does not close its doors to its children; therefore, those who decide to return may do so.
Some have told their story. Others will never have the courage to narrate their experiences, and those who arrive will rarely talk about the dark side of their journey.
On top of all that, there is a reality. Sometimes, what seems little to some can be the greatest of riches to others. Some pursue the American dream, while, for the vast majority, Cuba is the greatest of dreams.
THE U.S. IS IN BREACH OF ITS LEGAL OBLIGATION. The US fails to comply with its legal obligation to grant no less than 20,000 visas annually, imposes the burden of the brutal economic blockade and pressures governments in the region to demand transit visas for Cuban migrants and travelers.
The Cuban side has repeatedly warned the U.S. government of its responsibility – which it has unilaterally and unjustifiably failed to fulfill since 2017 – to facilitate regular, safe and orderly emigration.
The United States has been pressuring governments in the region for weeks to take measures against the Cuban traveler, in a cynical effort to close the doors to the emigration it has encouraged for decades.
In its eagerness to use the Cuban population as a “hostage of its hegemonic ambition”, the U.S. violates the human rights of our citizens and maintains a destabilizing policy against Cuba that violates International Law.
SOURCE: Twitter of Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla, Minister of Foreign Affairs.