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Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Cuba blames US for migrant exodus as thousands flee to US border

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Cuba has accused the US of triggering a record-breaking population flight from the island due to its ongoing trade embargo and its policies that encourage illegal migration.

The Cuban foreign ministry said in a statement on Wednesday that it had detected a “noticeable growth” in the flow of its migrants across irregular routes north through Central America in the past weeks and months, aiming to reach the US southern border.

 The statement said that the US economic blockade, which was tightened in recent years, caused “extraordinary limitations” to the Cuban economy and the population’s standard of living, which stimulated the migration.

 The statement also criticized the US laws dating back to the Cold War that grant special benefits to Cuban migrants, even those arriving illegally, creating a “pull factor” and encouraging human trafficking.

 According to US Customs and Border Protection data, a record-breaking number of Cubans reached the US border last year after migrating north from Nicaragua to Mexico1. That flow of migrants ebbed for several months earlier this year as Cubans rushed instead to take advantage of a Biden administration “parole” program that allows a legal path for entry into the US.

 However, the Cuban foreign ministry said that the US efforts to facilitate legal migration were still not enough and that the parole program was “insufficient and discriminatory” compared to other countries.

 Cuba’s economy is suffering an unprecedented crisis, with shortages of basic goods including food, fuel and medicine, a predicament that many Cubans say leaves them with little choice but to leave their home. The crisis has also sparked rare protests in July that were met with a crackdown by the authorities.

 The Cuban foreign ministry said that it was willing to cooperate with the US and other countries to address the root causes of migration and to ensure a safe, orderly and regular flow of people1. It also called on the international community to respect Cuba’s sovereignty and self-determination.

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