havana-live-cuban-criminalsHAVANA, July  20  (Fernando Ravsberg)   While the Cuban flag is hoisted on the building of the new embassy in Washington D.C. today, the US Congress continues to put obstacles in the way of normalization of bilateral relations. Now they want to send 35,000 Cuban criminals back to the island.

Since the initiative involves persons born in Cuba, Washington has the legal right to deport them. However for many years the relations between the two countries are not based on law. The US has a law that grants residency to any Cuban who touches US soil, even if they are criminals, terrorists or murderers.

Part of the “Mariel” exodus of 1980 were criminals taken from Cuban jails to send north, but these “excludables” represent only 10% of the 35,000 Congress wants to deport. The rest received their “education” in the streets and prisons of the USA.

If Cuba accepts their return, it will suffer the violence suffered by Central American nations today that accepted gang members deported from the US. It is a good mirror to look at and think when your neighbor’s house is on fire, beware of your own.

Cuban society is one that enjoys greater security than most of Latin America, and levels of violence and local crime are relatively minimal. Rudy, a cameraman for CNN who lived years on the island, said that Cubans offenders are children compared with those of his native New York.

Recently, US security companies began hiring thugs to protect celebrities visiting the island. Now Congress wants to send dangerous criminals of Cuban origin to live among us. What is going to become of the nation if it goes down that path?

Cuba must open itself to the world, a pope said when visiting the island, but Cubans should not forget that the national poet once wrote that, on occasion, there’s a need to shout a resounding “Close the wall!”