EFE/14ymedio, Palenque/Tapachula (Mexico)/Madrid | October 23, 2023 — The migration summit of Mexico and other Latin American countries concluded this Sunday with a joint statement that rejected “coercive measures,” promised to respect the human right to migrate and requested more legal alternatives for migration.
“[We agree] to urge the countries of origin, transit and destination to implement comprehensive migration policies that respect the human right to migrate, safeguard the life and dignity of migrants and their families, and include the promotion of permanent regularization options,” said Mexican Foreign Minister Alicia Bárcena, when reading the consensual pronouncement.
The joint declaration, with 14 points of agreement, was signed by the heads of state of Colombia, Cuba, Haiti, Honduras and Venezuela, the vice president of El Salvador and the deputy prime minister of Belize, as well as ministers of Costa Rica and Panama, who met in Palenque with the Mexican president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador.
Although Mexico initially reported the attendance of officials from Guatemala and Ecuador, these two countries do not appear among the signatories in the final statement that the Government later shared.
Although Mexico initially reported the attendance of officials from Guatemala and Ecuador, these two countries do not appear among the signatories in the final statement
Latin American governments argued that “external factors, such as unilateral coercive measures of an indiscriminate nature, negatively affect entire populations and to a greater extent the most vulnerable people and communities,” according to the position read by Bárcena.
In this sense, they agreed to “request from the destination countries the expansion of regular, orderly and safe migration routes with special emphasis on labor mobility, and to promote the reintegration and return of temporary workers.”
They also alleged that the “selective” measures stimulate irregular migration, in reference to the policies of the United States that provide for asylum for certain applicants from countries such as Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua and Venezuela, but they contemplate the immediate deportation of the rest.
“[We agree] to call on the destination countries to adopt immigration policies and practices in accordance with the current reality of our region and abandon those that are inconsistent and selective, to avoid arbitrarily producing so-called deterrent effects, such as the regularization of certain nationalities,” Bárcena said.
The migration summit takes place while Mexico and Central America face an “unprecedented” migratory flow, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), with up to 16,000 migrants arriving at the Mexican borders every day, according to López Obrador.
The Mexican president convened the meeting with the promise of bringing a common regional position to the president of the United States, Joe Biden, in November.
The Government of Mexico offered to cooperate with its social programs Sembrando Vida, for farm workers, and Jóvenes Construyendo el Futuro, for youth work
As a first point, the countries agreed to “develop an action plan,” which has as its axes food self-sufficiency, environmental protection, energy security, trade, investment and the fight against organized crime.
The Government of Mexico offered to cooperate with its social programs Sembrando Vida, for farm workers, and Jóvenes Construyendo el Futuro, for youth work, as well as in gas and renewable energies.
The governments also promised to promote trade, and they urge the lifting of sanctions and “coercive measures” in the region, a reference to Cuba and Venezuela.
They will also support the Republic of Haiti to “restore an environment of human security” and the “normalization” of the country after the political crisis, and efforts to rethink the international financial architecture of sovereign debt in Latin America.
Nations will deepen “south-south” cooperation relations, promote bilateral dialogues between countries of origin, transit and destination of migrants, and strengthen coordinated work with international organizations to serve people with special protection needs.
As a follow-up, they will create a “dialogue at the highest level” with a new working group in charge of the foreign ministries. And they will link these agreements with the high-level meeting on migration and development in Latin America and the Caribbean that Colombia and Mexico proposed for the first quarter of 2024.
In addition, the countries agreed to favor a dialogue between the governments of Cuba and the United States.
The summit brings more of the same, nothing more than the corruption of countries that want to profit from migration, pain and blood
Meanwhile, migrants stranded on Mexico’s southern border burned piñatas with the figures of the presidents of Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela in a protest against the immigration summit.
At the demonstration in Tapachula, on the border of Mexico with Guatemala, about 200 migrants, mostly from Venezuela, Central America and Haiti, set fire to piñatas of the Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro, the Cuban Miguel Díaz-Canel and the Nicaraguan Daniel Ortega.
The foreigners, gathered in the Bicentennial Park, carried the three figures, walked around with them and staged a public trial to accuse the rulers of not supporting the migrants.
The director of Pueblos Sin Fronteras, Irineo Mujica, pointed out that this “counter- summit” is a protest to denounce the president of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, for not having a solution.
“The summit brings more of the same, nothing more than the corruption of countries that want to profit from migration, pain and blood,” said the renowned migrant defender.
At the march, the Venezuelan migrant Leonerge Acero said he did not agree with the meeting of López Obrador and Maduro, pointing out that the conditions created by the president of Venezuela force them to leave the country.” You have nothing to do here, because you don’t know what it is to migrate. If it’s your fault we are here in this suffering, it’s your fault we are migrating, and I don’t understand your meeting with that president, to be honest,” Acero said in reference to Maduro.
Ysguel Jean, from Haiti, participated in this demonstration to highlight that he left his country because, according to his perception, most of the politicians are corrupt.
Like other migrants, he demanded that the summit, which will conclude with a common proposal from the region for López Obrador to present to the United States, result in humanitarian and non-punitive policies. “We ask the Government of Mexico to treat us well, to give us papers,” Jean said.
“Many Venezuelans and Haitians are in great need, sleeping in the streets and parks. Let (Mexico) help us and give us shelter,” he concluded.
At the same time, this weekend 65 migrants from Mexico and the Bahamas were deported to Cuba by air, as part of the migration agreements with those countries and according to Cuba’s Ministry of the Interior.
Of these, 37 Cubans (32 men and five women) arrived from Mexico on Saturday at José Martí International Airport, and another 28 did so on Friday from the Bahamas, on a commercial flight.
“One of the migrants returned in Friday’s operation was on probation at the time of leaving the Island and will be placed at the disposal of the courts, for the revocation of that benefit,” reported the official press, stating that there have already been 114 returns made from different countries in the region so far in 2023.
Translated by Regina Anavy
COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORK: The 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.