US Confirms It Will Hold Migration Talks With Cuba

Alejandro Mayorkas, United States Secretary of Homeland Security. (EFE/File)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 20 April 2022 — The Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) of the United States, Alejandro Mayorkas, assured this Wednesday that in tomorrow’s meeting with senior Cuban officials, both countries will “explore” the possibility of reactivating the migratory agreements.

Mayorkas said at a press conference at the end of a visit to Panama, without giving further details, that these agreements were in force for years, but ended up being “discontinued.”

The DHS secretary stressed that this Thursday’s meeting, the first high-level contact between the two governments since President Joe Biden came to power, “is a reflection” of his country’s commitment to the legal and humanitarian channels so that migrants do not have to undertake a “dangerous” journey by sea.

The Cuban Foreign Ministry confirmed the news on Tuesday, advanced by the Reuters agency the day before, of the holding of this round of talks on migration with United States officials, which will take place in Washington.

The Cuban delegation will be chaired by Carlos Fernández de Cossío, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs.

The Assembly of the Cuban Resistance, which brings together various opposition organizations from inside and outside the island, spoke out against the meeting on Tuesday, arguing that “the Castro regime is a regime that violates human rights that has committed and continues to commit crimes against humanity,” and that “these negotiations send a message of weakness and not of support to the Cuban people, at a time when the struggle for freedom is progressively increasing in the country.”

The announcement of the meeting came six days after the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement Service (ICE) denounced that the Island Government  has not accepted the deportation of Cubans since last October.

The Island is experiencing a new unstoppable migratory bloodletting. At the end of November, the island’s regime agreed with Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega on a “free visa” for Cubans traveling to Nicaragua, which from that very moment became the springboard for a river of emigrants seeking to reach the United States by a land route.

Until the end of February, and since the beginning of the US fiscal year –which begins on October 1 – more than 46,000 Cubans entered the US , a figure that exceeded the 35,000 of the so-called “Rafter Crisis” of 1994.

Some estimates predict that by September 30, 2022, around 150,000 citizens of the island will have entered the United States, more than the 125,000 who entered this territory by sea during the exodus of the Mariel Boatlift, between April and October 1980.

The number of Cubans detained on the border between the United States and Mexico soared to 16,531 in February, the highest total recorded in a single month, according to data from the United States Customs and Border Protection Office, the British agency recalls.

Several US politicians have not hesitated to hold Havana responsible for the current migratory exodus and some of them, such as Republican Congressman Marco Rubio, have even branded it an “act of war.”


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