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Home World News Washington Post World News Cuba: US migration policy ‘disjointed’ and ‘differentiated’

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

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HAVANA — Two days before the opening of migration talks between Cuba and the United States, which have been paralyzed for four years, a senior Cuban official deplored Washington’s “disjointed” and “differentiated” migration policy and urged Washington to comply with current similarities.

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

“We are noticing, and much more so today, that the United States has a differentiated and disjointed approach to the migration issue,” Deputy Secretary of State Josefina Vidal told a small group of journalists on Tuesday.

The US is helping “many countries in the region financially to reactivate their economies and create jobs,” including supporting health and education projects, Vidal said. Washington’s policy is the exact opposite of Cuba, where it exerts “maximum pressure on the economic order and through coercive measures”.

Cuba’s foreign ministry said on Twitter that the meeting will be held in Washington on Thursday and that the delegation will be led by Deputy Minister Carlos Fernández de Cossio.

The last of these meetings — which, by agreement between the two countries, are to take place twice a year — took place in July 2018, under the administration of then-President Donald Trump.

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

Trump increased sanctions against the Caribbean island, from revoking licenses to send money transfers or cruise ships, to sanctions on third-country companies operating in Cuba, to limiting flights and sanctioning oil tankers bound for Cuba.

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

Trump withdrew embassy staff in 2017. Thousands of people were left with incomplete family reunification procedures or prevented from traveling unless they completed visa procedures through Guyana. US President Joe Biden did not relax the crackdown, despite his campaign promises.

“We see no justification whatsoever for not giving all visas to Cuban emigrants in Havana and forcing the majority of Cubans to travel (to Guyana), at the cost this entails,” added Vidal, who heads the country. of the negotiations was for the historic rapprochement with the US 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, Cubans were stopped 79,800 times at the U.S. southern border in the past six months, slightly more than double that number in the entire fiscal year 2021 and five times more than in 2020.

Vidal presented a bleak picture on Tuesday. Cuban authorities have said Washington has failed to comply with the part of a bilateral agreement that stipulates the delivery of 20,000 visas per year for the past five years.

The number of sea crossings has also increased, either in rustic boats or through traffickers. From October to now, the US Coast Guard has intercepted 1,257 Cubans, compared to 838 in 2021.

As the numbers stand now, the number of departures is higher than during the so-called “truss crisis” of 1994, when some 30,000 people passed through the Florida Straits and half of those who did during Mariel’s 1980 exodus. , when some 124,000 Cubans left.

Vidal said there is a “historical regularity” in how these dramatic migration spikes occur when the US breaches its commitments, increases sanctions or interferes with more or less normal visa processing.

In addition, “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 declined to reveal the agenda Cuba will bring to the talks, but indicated that this issue will be one of the topics mentioned.

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

Cuba has had migration talks with countries like Canada, Belize and less than a month ago with Mexico, which sees more Cubans on its borders.

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