HAVANA, march 4th A Cuban government delegation will travel to the United States this week to visit a port facility and address maritime security issues with the U.SCoast Guard in the midst of the immigration crisis, a State Department spokeswoman told EFE.
Although without a specific date, the trip is part of a sharp increase in Cuban arrivals on U.S. shores.
Cuban officials from the Ministry of the Interior, Foreign Affairs and Transportation will meet with the Coast Guard and tour a port facility in North Carolina.
In their meetings they will address the U.S. Port Security Program, which seeks to “reduce risks” of security and trade in U.S. seas, ports and ships, the spokeswoman said.
“This coordination is not new, nor does it represent a change in United States policy,” remarked the State Department official, who recalled that both countries have cooperated on this issue for decades and that the last similar visit by a Cuban delegation was in 2019.
In recent months, there has been a timid rapprochement by the Joe Biden administration with the island, especially on immigration issues, with some meetings and visits by officials from both countries.
Repatriated in 2023
At the beginning of this week, the Cuban Ministry of the Interior reported on the return of 64 people who tried to reach the United States by sea, which now adds up to 2,431 repatriated Cubans in 2023 alone.
With the one from last Sunday, there have already been 37 return operations so far this year.
The Cuban authorities affirm that they maintain their commitment “with a regular, safe and orderly migration” and insist on “the danger and risk conditions for life that illegal departures from the country by sea represent.”
Since last October 1 ― which marks the beginning of the current fiscal year ― U.S. Coast Guard crews have intercepted more than 5,740 Cubans, a high number compared to previous years.
At the beginning of 2023, the U.S. government implemented a policy to welcome 30,000 migrants per month from Venezuela, Haiti, Cuba and Nicaragua, through a sponsorship program.
Parallel to this, it will immediately expel to Mexico migrants from those countries who try to cross into its territory irregularly.
Mexico, for its part, agreed to admit 30,000 migrants a month of those who are expelled from U.S. territory.