Cuba Seriously Honors Migration Commitments to U.S.

Havana, Jul 9 (Prensa Latina) Migration to the United States continues to be a major issue on the foreign affairs agenda of Cuba, whose government seriously honors the commitments it has made.

In that regard, the top official in charge of migration issues at the U.S. Department in Cuba’s Foreign Ministry, Yuri Gala, noted that the Caribbean island rigorously meets those commitments.

Since the first agreement was signed in December 1984, to the last of them, the two countries have assumed obligations that Cuba has honored systematically, even under difficult circumstances in relations, he pointed out.

The official noted the important contribution from such a document, in which the United States eliminated the dry feet-wet feet policy, as well as the parole program for Cuban medical professionals in third countries, to discourage irregular migration.

Gala stressed that Cuba has periodically received the so-called inadmissible (those who tried to enter or stay illegally in the United States after January 12, 2017), in tune with international law and norms and following the expedite mechanisms between institutions between the two countries.

Achieving the normalization of bilateral migration relations is a complex issue, because for decades, Washington has taken biased and selective measures as a political instrument to destabilize Cuba, said Gala, who was quoted by the Cuban News Agency.

Migration relations were distorted due to politicization by successive U.S. administrations that imposed the issue with measures aimed stimulating irregular migration from Cuba to discredit the nation internationally, drain the country from qualified personnel and create a social foundation for its policies against the Caribbean island, he stressed.

The diplomat underlined that the Cuban Adjustment Act is a major obstacle to the full normalization of bilateral migration relations, because it is a stimulus for those who want to migrate without abiding by the rules for regular, safe and orderly transit.

Although in 2016 and 2017 the United States met its commitment to grant at least 20,000 visas to Cubans who wanted to migrate to that country in a regular and safe way, it seems that this year it will not happen, due to the suspension of consular operations at the U.S. Embassy in Havana in October 2017, Gala commented.

Washington claimed alleged incidents against its diplomatic personnel, without submitting a single piece of evidence or probable cause for the symptoms reported by U.S. officials.

The U.S. government has created obstacles to comply with its obligations, specifically by not granting the 20,000 visas to migrants every year, the Foreign Ministry official noted.

Although official statistics are not available, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of State admitted in February that ‘due to the departure of all non-emergency personnel at the Embassy in Havana, we will face challenges to meet that commitment in the 2018 fiscal year.’

At present, Cubans who want to migrate definitely to the United States must travel to Guyana for consular procedures without certainty that they will be granted a visa.

Those interested in migrating to the United States have to spend several hundreds of dollars in consular procedures, medical checkups, plane tickets from Havana to Georgetown that range between 1,000 and 1,200 dollars, and daily food and accommodation for several weeks.

The migration agreements between Cuba and the United States seek to guarantee a regular, safe and orderly flow of migrants.

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