Cuba Points the Blame at the White House for Encouraging Dangerous and Deadly Migration to the US

By Alejandra Garcia on November 1, 2022 from Havana

photo: Bill Hackwell

How many more Cubans will have to die in the waters nearby in their effort to reach the United States, before the White House recognizes that they hold the responsibility for this sad Cuban reality? When will the Caribbean island be able to count on an orderly and safe migration to the North American country, and policies that do not facilitate the illegal entry of Cubans to that nation, whether by sea or land?

Cuban families are asking themselves those questions, especially now that the country was recently shaken by two incidents that could have been prevented that show the dangers that illegal migration poses for Cubans and how the US government is responsible for creating only disorderly, dangerous and unpredictable avenues for migration from the island.

This week, it was reported that a speedboat with a US registration, which violated Cuba’s territorial sea in a human trafficking operation, sank north of Bahia Honda, Artemisa. The incident occurred when it collided with a surface unit of the Cuban Border Guard Troops that were trying to prevent their exit to the open sea.

As a consequence of the collision, the boat turned over leaving five people dead, including a little girl, three women, and one man. Two other surface units were immediately dispatched and joined the search and rescued the 23 people on board, including the deceased.

Cuban authorities immediately took to the media to condemn the tragic event. According to the Interior Ministry, “this new incident with a fatal outcome occurred as a consequence of the hostile and cruel policy of the United States government against Cuba. The White House tolerates and encourages illegal departures from Cuba by allowing irregular migrants to remain in its territory.”

Only a few hours after the deadly accident, Cuban media outlets were reporting that the Border Guard troops rescued another 26 migrants who had been abandoned by US human smugglers near the cost of Ciego de Avila. A small girl was on board, showing severe signs of dehydration because they spent several days drifting without water or food.

“The United States encourages illegal departures by keeping the Cuban Adjustment Act in force, a document taken advantage of by many criminals, who profit from people’s lives without measuring the consequences,” the Interior Ministry added.

The blockade is another consequence of the Cuban migratory upsurge, Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla added, as he lamented the events. “The economic, commercial, and financial blockade causes enormous difficulties for the population and becomes one of the main incentives that generate this type of action,” he said.

Migration is not a new phenomenon for Cubans. During the first half of the 20th century, Cubans migrated to the US responding to several reasons: geographical proximity, employment and study opportunities, among others. Since there were close relations in areas like business, tourism, and cultural activities, between the two countries, it was relatively easy to move from one territory to another.

However, according to research, following the 1959 Revolution, there was a break in the migratory pattern and a change in the social actors involved: many people who were related to the Batista dictatorship fled to the US, followed by members of the Cuban bourgeoisie, or workers of US companies established on the island, as well as numerous inhabitants who opposed the new Cuban government.

In the 90’s, during the “Special Peacetime Period” following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Cuba was plunged into a deep economic crisis also due to the repercussions of the trade blockade imposed by the US since 1961. As a result, discontent became widespread on the island, leading to protests and clashes that culminated in the so-called “rafters’ crisis” of 1994.

The story improves a little after that. During the Obama-era (2008-2017), relations between the two countries seemed to be on the right track. But Donald Trump came to power (2017-2021), throwing 243 hostile measures against Cuba into his portfolio; and this of course was during the height of the unprecedented pandemic which still holds palpable economic consequences in Cuba and the world.

The lives of Cubans have become more complex since then, and the current administration of Joe Biden has shown little interest in to improving the policy, which as it stands is a co ordinated effort to suffocate our economy, and leave the people with little alternatives than taking the chance and jumping into the sea in search of better opportunities, or crossing dangerous jungles to reach the Rio Bravo. This is one of the major impacts of the blockade which is designed to punish Cuba in every imaginable and unimaginable way.

Cuba is eagerly awaiting a change of policy, so families do not suffer any more loss of life as they run towards that American dream that does not exist.

Source: Resumen Latinoamericano – US