Cuba: US migration policy ‘incoherent’ and ‘differentiated’

Apr 18, 2022, 11:44 PM | Updated: Apr 19, 2022, 6:09 pm
FILE - U.S. flag flies at the U.S. embassy in Havana, Cuba, March 18, 2019 days after the U.S. Stat...

FILE - U.S. flag flies at the U.S. embassy in Havana, Cuba, March 18, 2019 days after the U.S. State Department announced it was eliminating a five-year tourist visa for Cubans. Cuban authorities confirmed on April 19, 2022 that migration talks with the U.S. will take place, the first in four years since the hardening of relations between both countries and amid an increase in arrivals of Cuban citizens to the southern border of the U.S. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa, File)

(AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa, File)

HAVANA (AP) — Two days before the opening of migration talks between Cuba and the United States, which have been paralyzed for four years, a high-ranking Cuban official lamented Washington’s “incoherent” and “differentiated” migration policies, and exhorted Washington to comply with current agreements.

The migration meeting will take place amid a dramatic increase in arrivals of Cubans at the southern border of the United States.

“We are noticing, and now much more these days, that there is a differentiated and incoherent approach by the United States toward the migratory issue,” Deputy Foreign Minister Josefina Vidal told a small group of journalists on Tuesday.

The U.S. is financially helping “many countries in the region in order to reactivate their economies, to help them create jobs,” including supporting health and education projects, said Vidal. Washington’s policy is exactly the opposite with Cuba, where it is applying “maximum pressure to the economic order and through coercive measures.”

Cuba’s Foreign Ministry said on Twitter that the meeting will be held in Washington Thursday and its delegation will be headed by deputy minister Carlos Fernández de Cossio.

The last of these meetings — which according to agreements between both countries must be held twice a year — took place in July 2018, under the administration of then President Donald Trump.

Trump ended the policy of rapprochement between both nations that his predecessor, Barack Obama, had begun.

Trump increased sanctions against the Caribbean island, from the cancellation of permits to send remittances or cruise ships, to penalties for companies from third countries that operate in Cuba, to limitation of flights and punishment of oil tankers bound for Cuba.

These measures and the pandemic contributed to an economic crisis in Cuba, with shortages of basic products, power outages and the respective queues and rationing.

Trump withdrew embassy staff in 2017. Thousands of people were left with incomplete family reunification processes or were prevented from traveling unless they carried out visa procedures through Guyana. U.S. President Joe Biden did not relax the tough measures, despite his campaign promises.

“We do not see any justification for not giving all visas to Cuban emigrants in Havana and forcing the majority of Cubans to travel (to Guyana), with the costs that this implies,” added Vidal, who was the head of negotiations for the historic rapprochement with the U.S. in 2014. The talks concluded with the reopening of diplomatic offices and Obama’s trip to the island.

According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, in the last six months Cubans were stopped 79,800 times at the southern U.S. border, a little more than double that number seen in the entire 2021 fiscal year and five times more than in 2020.

On Tuesday, Vidal presented a gloomy picture. Cuban authorities have said that in the last five years Washington has failed to comply with the part of a bilateral agreement that establishes the delivery of 20,000 visas per year.

Sea crossings have also increased, either in rustic boats or at the hands of traffickers. From October to date, the U.S. Coast Guard intercepted 1,257 Cubans, compared with 838 in 2021.

As the figures stand, the number of departures is higher than during the so-called “rafter crisis” of 1994 when some 30,000 people arrived through the Straits of Florida and half of those who did so in the Mariel exodus in 1980, when some 124,000 Cubans left.

Vidal said there is a “historical regularity” with how these dramatic migratory peaks occur when the U.S. fails to comply with agreements, increases sanctions or puts obstacles to a more or less normal processing of visas.

Furthermore, “the United States is exerting pressure on countries in the region to establish specific requirements for Cubans in transit, which creates additional obstacles,” she said.

Vidal refused to reveal the agenda Cuba will bring to the talks, but indicated that this issue will be among those mentioned.

In recent months, Panama and Costa Rica announced that they would require transit visas from Cubans, a different position of Nicaragua — an ally of Cuba — which lifted this requirement and since November became the new point of departure of Cubans heading to the United States.

Cuba has held migratory talks with countries such as Canada, Belize, and less than a month ago with Mexico, which is seeing more Cubans at its borders.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

File - People shop at an Apple store in the Westfield Garden State Plaza mall in Paramus, New Jerse...
Associated Press

A key inflation gauge tracked by the Fed slowed in February

The Federal Reserve's favored inflation gauge slowed sharply last month, an encouraging sign in the Fed's yearlong effort to cool price pressures through steadily higher interest rates.
21 hours ago
FILE - The OpenAI logo is seen on a mobile phone in front of a computer screen displaying output fr...
Associated Press

Musk, scientists call for halt to AI race sparked by ChatGPT

Are tech companies moving too fast in rolling out powerful artificial intelligence technology that could one day outsmart humans?
2 days ago
starbucks...
Associated Press

Starbucks leader grilled by Senate over anti-union actions

Longtime Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz faced sharp questioning Wednesday before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee
3 days ago
FILE - The overdose-reversal drug Narcan is displayed during training for employees of the Public H...
Associated Press

FDA approves over-the-counter Narcan; here’s what it means

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday approved selling naloxone without a prescription, the first over-the-counter opioid treatment.
3 days ago
FILE - A Seattle police officer walks past tents used by people experiencing homelessness, March 11...
Associated Press

Seattle, feds seek to end most oversight of city’s police

  SEATTLE (AP) — The U.S. Justice Department and Seattle officials asked a judge Tuesday to end most federal oversight of the city’s police department, saying its sustained, decade-long reform efforts are a model for other cities whose law enforcement agencies face federal civil rights investigations. Seattle has overhauled virtually all aspects of its police […]
4 days ago
capital gains tax budgets...
Associated Press

Washington moves to end child sex abuse lawsuit time limits

People who were sexually abused as children in Washington state may soon be able to bring lawsuits against the state, schools or other institutions for failing to stop the abuse, no matter when it happened.
4 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Compassion International...

Brock Huard and Friends Rally Around The Fight for First Campaign

Professional athletes are teaming up to prevent infant mortality and empower women at risk in communities facing severe poverty.
Emergency Preparedness...

Prepare for the next disaster at the Emergency Preparedness Conference

Being prepared before the next emergency arrives is key to preserving businesses and organizations of many kinds.
SHIBA volunteer...

Volunteer to help people understand their Medicare options!

If you’re retired or getting ready to retire and looking for new ways to stay active, becoming a SHIBA volunteer could be for you!
safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.
SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Cuba: US migration policy ‘incoherent’ and ‘differentiated’