The Center for a Free Cuba Denounces the Use of Emigration ‘As a Political Weapon’

A group of Cuban migrants in northern Honduras on their journey to the United States (14ymedio)

14ymedio biggerEFE (via 14ymedio), Miami, 1 April 2023 — The Center for a Free Cuba, an organization of the Cuban exile in the United States, affirmed that the round of immigration talks between Cuba and the United States “will only encourage Havana to continue weaponizing migration to increase its influence on the Administration of President Joe Biden.”

“Cuba’s problem is not emigration, it’s the dictatorship,” the organization, based in Washington D.C., warned in a statement in response to a new round of immigration talks between the two countries.

This migratory round, which was held yesterday in Washington, D.C., was marked by a sharp increase in the arrivals of Cubans to the U.S. coasts.

The number of Cubans detained (6,202) when they tried to reach the United States by sea since last October 1, already exceeds that of the entire previous fiscal year (6,182), according to information from the U.S. Coast Guard.

The country’s serious economic crisis has intensified an unprecedented mass immigration exodus, especially to the United States, where authorities detained more than 313,000 Cubans on the southern border with Mexico, which represents about 3% of Cuba’s total population.

According to the statement of the Center for a Free Cuba, an organization whose objectives are to “promote a peaceful transition to a Cuba that respects human rights and political and economic freedoms,” Havana has used Cuban emigration “as a political weapon to repeatedly leverage negotiations with Washington.”

According to the organization, after the first round of talks on migration between the Biden Administration and Havana, in April 2022, “the State Department announced a series of unilateral concessions” that included “the expansion of authorized travel and educational exchanges.”

“The first benefit is to the Cuban Army through its conglomerate, the Grupo de Administración Empresarial S.A. (Gaesa), and its sub-entity Gaviota, which supervise and benefit from Cuban tourism,” the statement says.

The second, he adds, “benefits the Cuban intelligence service, which has used educational exchanges to recruit spies, insert intelligence officials into academic conferences and compromise  visitors to the Island.”

He also affirms that all the migratory crises in Cuba “have occurred during administrations that sought to improve relations with Havana,” and cites among other crises the mass exoduses of Camarioca (1965), Mariel (1980) and the so-called “Crisis of the  Rafters” of 1994, in addition to the current one.

“No negotiation with the Cuban dictatorship, manipulated by Havana and using migration as a weapon, can succeed for the Cuban people or the interests of the United States, while the Castro regime imposes an internal blockade on Cubans and more than a thousand Cubans are imprisoned for exercising their right to express their desire for a free Cuba,” said John Suárez, executive director of the organization.

The United States defended on Wednesday that the measures it has taken have allowed the reduction of irregular immigration from Cuba, but this country considers, on the contrary, that Washington is “stimulating” illegal immigration.

Translated by Regina Anavy


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