U.S. migration policies – obstacle to normalization of relations with Cuba

Ministry of Foreign Relations Statement on Migratory Policy

Nov. 18, 2015

Over the last few days, a complex situation has developed involving more than 1,000 Cubans who have arrived in Costa Rica, from other countries in the region, with the intention of traveling to the United States.

These persons left Cuba in a legal manner to travel to various Latin American countries, meeting the requirements established by Cuban migratory regulations. In an attempt to reach United States territory, they have become victims of traffickers and criminal gangs which unscrupulously profit from their control of the passage of persons through South America, Central America and Mexico.

Cuban authorities have maintained ongoing contact with the governments of the countries involved, with the goal of finding a rapid, appropriate solution, which would take into consideration the well-being of the Cuban citizens.

The Ministry of Foreign Relations would like to emphasize that these citizens are victims of the politicization of the migration issue on the part of the United States government, the Cuban-American Adjustment Act, in particular, and the application of the so-called “wet foot-dry foot” policy, which gives Cubans differentiated treatment – the only one of its kind in the world – which admits them immediately and automatically, regardless of the route or means used, even if they arrive in an illegal manner to U.S. territory.

This policy encourages irregular immigration from Cuba to the United States, and constitutes a violation of the letter and spirit of Migratory Accords currently in effect, in which both countries assumed the responsibility to guarantee legal, safe, orderly emigration.

The Ministry of Foreign Relations denounces the U.S. government’s continued maintenance of the so-called Cuban Medical Professional Parole Program, established in 2006 by President George W. Bush, to encourage Cuban doctors and other medical personnel to abandon their missions in third countries, and emigrate to the United States. This is a reprehensible practice, meant to damage Cuban cooperation programs, and deny Cuba and many countries the vital human resources they need.

The Ministry of Foreign Relations reiterates once again that the “wet foot-dry foot” policy and the “Cuban Medical Professional Parole Program” are inconsistent with the current bilateral context, impede the normalization of migratory relations between Cuba and the United States, and create problems for other countries.

The Ministry of Foreign Relations confirms that Cuban citizens who have left the country legally, and abide by current Cuban migratory law, have the right to return to Cuba, if they so desire.

The Ministry of Foreign Relations reaffirms the Cuban government’s commitment to legal, safe, orderly emigration.

Havana, November 17, 2015