The Cuba-USA meeting on migration smells like "thaw 2.0"

The Cuba-USA meeting on migration smells like "thaw 2.0"

The governments of Cuba and the United States held a new meeting in Havana on Tuesday to address the problem of migration, which continues unstoppable. The meeting, the second that both parties have on the subject, after a previous one, last Aprilsince Joe Biden assumed the presidency in 2021, was led by the Undersecretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs, Emily Mendrala, on the US side, and by the Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carlos Fernández de Cossío, on the Cuban side.

In a statement issued by its Embassy in Havana, the US asserted that at the meeting it “highlighted areas of successful cooperation on migration, while identifying problems that have been obstacles to meeting the objectives of the Agreements.”

“Participating in these talks underlines our commitment to engage in constructive talks with the Government of Cuba when appropriate to promote US interests,” says the text, which also alludes to the recently resumed consular services. In addition, it concludes: “Guaranteeing safe, regular and humane migration between Cuba and the United States continues to be in the interest of both countries and is consistent with the interests of the United States to promote family reunification and promote greater respect for human rights and freedoms fundamental in Cuba”.

It is expected that after the meeting, the Cuban Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carlos Fernández de Cossío, who heads the island’s delegation, will offer a press conference.

Without expressly referring to this meeting, President Miguel Díaz-Canel advocated this Monday again for maintaining a bilateral dialogue that leads to a rapprochement, on the basis of “equal conditions.”

“We are proposing the will, with all due respect and with all the ability to be on an equal footing, to be able to have dialogues that are getting closer”

“We are proposing the will, with all due respect and with all the ability to be on equal terms, to be able to have dialogues that will bring both countries closer,” he declared.

Bilateral relations have intensified in recent months in different areas, from academic to logistical and commercial, including immigration and humanitarian aid in the face of catastrophes, very gradually, a sort of “thaw 2.0” after the first one carried out by then-President Barack Obama in 2014.

During the last Administration, Donald Trump scuttled his predecessor’s policy toward the Island and tightened sanctions, including including Cuba on the list of countries that promote terrorism.

Today the Island is suffering its most serious economic crisis and the most serious exodus. In just one year, between October 2021 and September 2022, more than 224,607 Cubans entered the US irregularly. The US Embassy in Havana has also granted more than 20,000 family reunification visas to Cubans.

As soon as to those who flee by sea, the Coast Guard has intercepted, just since October 1, 1,588 Cubans. So far this November, 227 Cubans have been repatriated in four groups.

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