The Cuban Adjustment Act Is Not The Main Cause Of The Exodus / 14ymedio, Pedro Campos

Cuban boat people arrive in Florida / Archive. (EFE)
Cuban boat people arrive in Florida / Archive. (EFE)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Pedro Campos, Havana, 4 July 2016 — The Colombian government labels the Cuban Adjustment Act “perverse” and calls on other Latin American governments affected by the flow of migrants from the island to pressure Washington to repeal it.

Without a doubt, the countries closest to Cuba are recipients and “victims” of the vast wave of Cuban emigrants trying to get to the United States, and have been forced to confront complex situations in which thousands of people’s lives have been in danger. They have had to offer them shelter, medical care and other services, and all this without the slightest help from the Cuban government, always quick to display its solidarity with humanitarian crises anywhere else in the world.

However, the Cuban Adjustment Act is not the main cause of this wave. The main culprit is the populist-authoritarian system, the Statist-wage model, which has exhausted all its possibilities and is advancing irretrievably to its final phase, impoverishing its population more and more and shutting down every prospect of development and prosperity for the majority, given its refusal to democratize the political system and the economy.

The Cuban Adjustment Act, although it does provide a certain stimulus to the exodus, is designed to provide assistance to Cubans who leave, fleeing the regime, and even if it is true that many of those who come to the United States, didn’t dare utter a peep when they were in Cuba, it is not false that everyone leaves in search of the freedom and possibilities that they cannot find in Cuba.

The Cuban people are tired of dealing with so many absurd regulations over their lives and their way of organizing their subsistence and reproduction, always mediated by an all-powerful state, one that makes all decisions, abrogating all the rights of citizens, expropriating all their businesses and factories, large, medium and small, and paying them nothing for the value of their labor, curtailing all their chances for development and imposing on them who they must work for and what their income will be.

The repression against the opposition movement is abusive, because they systematically violate all the freedoms and civil and political rights of citizens. The people cannot choose other leaders. As democratic socialists we have taken a position of not seeking confrontation but rather seeking understanding, and also have been repressed in various ways.

Certainly the Cuban Adjustment Act gives some privileges to Cubans who reach the United States, but if it were repealed, if such privileges did not exist, most likely Cubans would continue coming to the coasts and borders of the United States and would be willing to live there illegally, as hundreds of thousands of other Latinos do, until they can legalize their situation, as long as in Cuba nothing is fixed and we cannot achieve a democratic system of government and a prosperous economic model.

The privileges currently enjoyed by Cubans, through the Cuban Adjustment Act, are given precisely because of the kind of government that exists on the island, which, despite the rapprochement and changes in US policy, continues to have its blinkers on and shows no willingness to change its authoritarian model.

Latin American governments concerned and affected by this situation, willing to pressure the US to change its laws, should also show the same willingness to pressure the Cuban government to change its laws, which prevent the democratization of the system and hinder the economic development of the country.

If the established government in Cuba decided, for the sake of its people and its own history, to initiate a process of democratization of the politics of the country and to take real steps to begin denationalizing the economy, turning it over to society, workers, employers and entrepreneurs, surely most Cubans who are planning to go, would remain, and many of those who have left would be willing to return and invest in their country, directly or indirectly, the capital they have accumulated outside the country.