Latin America Meets to End US Hostile Policies that Encourages Migration

By Alejandra Garcia on October 24, 2023

Migration meeting in Palenque Chiapas, photo: Alejandro Azcuy

Migration is not a new phenomenon. For centuries, the world’s population has moved from one place to another with a common motivation: the search for a better future. However, in recent decades, the numbers have soared dramatically and dangerously, especially in Latin America and the Caribbean, spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic, lack of opportunity, poverty, violence, climate change, and, especially, the rise of unilateral sanctions by great powers against their “rival” nations, which are almost always at an economic disadvantage.

Dialogue on this issue cannot be postponed. The humanitarian crisis on the US-Mexico border is growing by the day, without the United States seeking alternatives with the people of the south that would help put a stop to the illegal arrival of migrants. On the contrary, it continues to apply a hostile policy towards Venezuela and Cuba and anti-immigrant measures that affect the entire region equally.

 This past Sunday, eleven Latin American and Caribbean countries met to form a regional bloc searching for structural solutions to migration. At the invitation of Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, heads of state, vice presidents and foreign ministers gathered in Palenque, Chiapas, to promote dialogue in the hopes of coming up with a definitive solution to the crisis. Attending included Belize, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Panama and Venezuela, all countries impacted by migration north

“It is important that the United States open a dialogue with us. The unilateral measures and sanctions imposed against countries in the region, particularly Venezuela and Cuba, contribute to instigating migration,” AMLO warned.

At the regional meeting, Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel assured that, in general, none of the traditional motivations are strange to Cuba. However, Cuba’s migratory potential is exacerbated stimulated, in a significant way, by the hostile policy of the United States towards our country.

“This hostile policy, which has a direct impact on the Cuban migratory flow and, collaterally, on the regional countries that work as a migrant corridor, is derectly connected to the economic blockade that reduces the real income of Cubans and makes them suffer hunger and misery. The unjust, absurd, and arbitrary classification of Cuba as a state sponsor of terrorism has a significant weight in the economic effect of this policy,” Diaz-Canel said.

For political reasons meant to destabilize Cuba, the US government also grants privileged treatment to Cubans who arrive at its southern or maritime borders.

“The vast majority of these migrants are accepted regardless of the status with which they arrived at the border or succeeded in crossing it. Consequently, many Cubans are confident that, unlike nationals of other countries, their chances of settling in the United States are very high if they reach the border by any means,” he stressed.

Finally, in the United States, there is a federal law called the Cuban Adjustment Act, where any Cuban who entered the country after January 1, 1959, can obtain a permanent residency after one year of arrival.

“This is a privilege exclusive to Cubans and provides an extraordinary incentive for the migrant,” the president commented.

During the regional meeting, those involved insisted that these regulations express how the US government puts the objectives of destabilization against Cuba before its national migration priorities.

“All the countries around the world condemn this at every UN assembly. The vast majority vote to remove the blockade on Cuba,” said AMLO, who is scheduled to meet US President Joe Biden next month and will seek to encourage dialogue between Washington and the island.

Regional meetings like the one in Palenque restore hope to Latin American families seeking to prosper in their own countries. The image of the ten heads of state and government representatives shaking hands gives encouragement, and it makes us forget for a while the gigantic wall built on Mexico’s northern border and the thousands of deaths that, year after year, occur in deserts, jungles and seas bordering the world’s center of power.

Source: Resumen Latinoamericano – English