EFE (via 14ymedio), Washington, 13 April 2022 — The Government of Cuba has not accepted the arrival of citizens deported by the United States immigration authorities for months, a spokesman for the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement Service (ICE) told Efe on Wednesday.
So far in fiscal year 2022 (that is, since last October), Cuba has not accepted any deportation of Cubans by ICE through commercial or charter flights from US territory.
During this time, only 20 Cubans have voluntarily returned to the island from the United States.
For comparison, between October 1, 2020 and September 30, 2021, ICE deported 95 Cubans.
According to figures from the US immigration agency, there are currently approximately 40,050 Cuban citizens pending deportation from the United States to Cuba after receiving the final order from a judge.
Cuba’s refusal to accept deportations comes amid an increase in the number of Cuban migrants trying to reach the United States irregularly through a route that starts in Central America and crosses the Straits of Florida.
Data from the US Customs and Border Protection Office (CBP) indicate that in the last five months a total of 47,331 Cubans entered the North American country irregularly. In February alone, 16,557 entries were registered.
The Government of Cuba blames the United States for the increase in the irregular migratory flow and has accused it of failing to comply with the agreements on the matter.
However, on April 5, the president of Cuba, Miguel Díaz-Canel, said he was willing to talk with his “adversary” the United States, despite the historical differences between the two nations.
“We don’t need confrontation to exist either, as some fools think,” Diaz-Canel wrote on Twitter, quoting a phrase from former Cuban President Fidel Castro.
Both countries began a rapprochement in 2015, known as a “thaw,” during Barack Obama’s last term (2009-2017), but it was reversed with the administration of Republican Donald Trump (2017-2021).
Trump tightened the economic sanctions against the Island and paralyzed a large part of the measures taken by his Democratic predecessor.
Upon his arrival at the White House in January 2021, US President Joe Biden said he would review Trump’s policies.
However, Jake Sullivan, Biden’s national security adviser, stated last November that “circumstances changed” in Cuba policy after the July 11 protests, which were repressed by the authorities.
That day, thousands of Cubans spontaneously took to the streets to demand more freedoms and political change in protests that resulted in hundreds of people arrested.
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