HAVANA, Nov 15. Delegations from Cuba and the United States met on Tuesday in Havana to talk about migration in the context of an increase since August of irregular arrivals of Cubans to US territory.” Both governments know that we have to work to correct or take measures to prevent irregular emigration,” said the Cuban Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carlos Fernández de Cossío in a conference, at the end of this regular meeting every semester.
“Ensuring safe, orderly, humane and regular migration between Cuba and the United States continues to be a primary objective” for Washington, the State Department said in a statement.
The US delegation was chaired by Eric Jacobstein, Undersecretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs at the State Department.
Irregular emigration from the island had fallen in the first part of the year thanks to the program known as Parole, which was implemented in January by the Joe Biden administration.
Under this program, aimed at facilitating legal migration for Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans and Venezuelans, some 55,368 Cubans flew between January and October directly to the United States.
However, in that period 108,529 Cubans arrived illegally to the United States, among them 46,451 did so during August, September and October, according to figures from the United States Customs and Border Protection Office.
Last week, United States authorities expressed their concern about the “dramatic” increase in sublet flights that facilitate irregular migration from Cuba to Nicaragua, from where Cubans begin the journey to the US border.
“No one should benefit from the desperation of vulnerable migrants,” US Deputy Secretary of State Brian Nichols said on X (formerly Twitter) last week.
Fernández de Cossío reported that these flights have already begun to decrease. “That situation is no longer there, it is no longer as it was at that time,” he noted.
The vice foreign minister said that, during the meeting, Cuba made clear the need to attack the causes of migration.
Havana considers that the island’s economic crisis, the worst it has experienced in three decades, is due to the tightening of Washington’s embargo on Cuba since 2019 and its inclusion on the blacklist of sponsors of terrorism.
Cuba has also denounced that Washington encourages emigration with laws that privilege Cubans to regularize their situation in the United States.
The mass emigration of Cubans was triggered in November 2021, when Nicaragua eliminated the visa requirement. In 2022 alone, some 313,000 Cubans took that path.
Authorities from the two countries resumed these immigration talks in April 2022, suspended after Donald Trump’s government withdrew diplomatic personnel in 2017 due to alleged sonic attacks.
Although in May 2022 the consulate reopened and began issuing visas for family reunification, Cubans still have to travel to a third country to process a tourist visa.