Cuba Says US Sanctions to Blame for Migrant Surge

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By Marco Echevarria

During a recent meeting in Havana, Cuban and U.S. officials discussed the ongoing issue of migration, marking their second such dialogue this year. The talks focused on addressing the unprecedented surge of Cubans migrating northward to the United States.

The U.S., a primary destination for Cuban migrants, has resumed negotiations with Cuba in 2022 and has expanded legal migration avenues for Cubans. These include providing visa services in Havana, re-establishing family reunification programs, and introducing humanitarian parole initiatives to curb illegal migration.

However, Cuban Vice Foreign Minister Carlos Fernandez de Cossio asserts that the migration issue will persist unless the U.S. relaxes its sanctions against Cuba. These sanctions, according to Cuba, have severely impacted its struggling state-run economy. De Cossio expressed his view to reporters, suggesting that the U.S.’s priority in destabilizing Cuba seems to overshadow its interest in protecting its borders regarding migration.

The U.S., on the other hand, defends its sanctions as essential for promoting human rights and fundamental liberties in Cuba. It also emphasizes that exceptions are made for humanitarian purposes. The U.S. State Department, in a statement, described the talks as aligned with American interests in encouraging family reunification and advocating for greater respect for human rights and freedoms in Cuba.

This issue is part of a broader trend, with thousands of individuals from various Latin American and Caribbean countries crossing into the U.S. from Mexico in recent weeks. This influx has raised concerns among U.S. border city officials and has led to delays in trade.