Officials from both countries met in Havana to discuss immigration issues and the situation on the island
The US insisted on its request to Cuba for the release of “all the political prisoners” (REUTERS)
The United States again expressed its “concern” for “the situation of human rights” in Cuba and, along these lines, “urged the Government to unconditionally release all the prisoners political”. The request was made in the framework of a meeting between officials from both countries this Wednesday in Havana.
The Deputy Secretary of State for Consular Affairs, Rena Bitter, and the director of the US Immigration Citizenship Services, Ur Mendoza Jaddou, were in the Cuban capital between November 8 and 10, according to the US Embassy in a statement.
This Wednesday, the envoys met with the island's Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carlos Fernández de Cossío, in which issues such as the “processing of reunification family< Cuban /b>” and the “resuming of immigrant visa processing in early 2023 at the United States Embassy in Havana,” the statement detailed.
Carlos Fernández de Cossío, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Cuba (EFE)
Meanwhile, the Cuban spokesmen limited themselves to announcing that the meeting addressed “the importance of fully resuming the migratory and consular services of the US embassy in Havana” without referring to the request on human rights that the Cuban Embassy did mention. US Foreign Ministry.
The meeting between the two parties took place in the midst of a mass exodus of Cubans who, hoping for a better life, are fleeing the country – mainly bound for the United States-.
In fact, during the last fiscal year -which runs from October 2021 to September 2022- the record number of migrants was registered irregular in general -and of Cubans, in particular- who arrived at the southern border of the United States. This has led to the migration issue becoming a key issue for US national policy.
According to the Department of Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Cuban migrants in This period totaled 224,607 , which is added to the more than 6,182 that were detained by the Washington Coast Guard in Florida, since October of last year.
The US Coast Guard in Florida detained more than 6,182 Cuban migrants since October of last year (EFE)
In parallel, in that period, the administration of Joe Biden issued 23,996 visas to Cubansand, for the first time since 2017, it complied with the 1994 bilateral migration agreement that establishes the delivery of a minimum of 20,000 visas a year to the islanders.
For its part, the Cuban regime blames the United States for this irregular migration of its citizens. In addition, it points to Washington for not complying with the bilateral agreement as well as with the Cuban Adjustment Law, established in 1996, which allows the islanders to apply for permanent residencein the North American country after having served a year and a day there.
The administration of Joe Biden has taken measures in the last two years very different from those adopted by the last management, of Donald Trump. Thus, after the dialogue was suspended in 2018 between the parties, last April Biden opened the bilateral dialogue on migration and the growing flow of Cubans in the country.
Joe Biden reopened the bilateral dialogue on migration and the growing flow of Cubans in the country (REUTERS)
Also, it advanced with the gradual increase of its consular services on the island and the reestablishment of the family reunification program. b>, which had also been suspended since 2017.
The social and political crisis in Cuba has intensified in recent times. Added to the consequences of the pandemic were the tense political climate and the havoc caused on the island by the passage of Hurricane Ian, which has caused long blackouts throughout the country and left hundreds of protesters detained.
(With information from EFE)