Migration discussions were held in Washington this week amid a growing number of Cubans trying to enter the US.
Cuba’s foreign minister has called on the United States to fully comply with bilateral agreements between the two countries on migration and stop what he said are policies that prevent Cubans from traveling to the United States and abroad.
Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez said Friday that the United States should stop “violating the rights of Cubans to travel” in the region.
“Cuba reiterates that the US must stop hindering and violating the rights of Cubans to travel to third countries in the region and calls for comprehensive and non-selective compliance with bilateral migration agreements,” Rodríguez said in a tweet.
#Cuba reiterates that the US must stop hindering and violating the rights of Cubans to travel to third countries in the region and calls for comprehensive and non-selective compliance with bilateral migration agreements.
– Bruno Rodríguez P (@BrunoRguezP) April 22, 2022
His comments came a day after the United States and Cuba held their highest-level diplomatic talks in four years, following a severe breakdown in ties during the administration of former President Donald Trump.
Discussions in Washington on Thursday between top State Department officials and Cuba’s deputy foreign minister focused on migration, with the US side eager to control a growing number of Cubans trying to enter the United States, sometimes without documentation.
The Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that the United States. policies and sanctions create “social and economic conditions that encourage emigration”.
The island government has also demanded that the US issue more visas for Cubans wishing to travel to the US in accordance with previous agreements, and criticized the US for offering only limited consular services in Havana, forcing Cubans to apply for visas in Guyana.
“These measures, including those associated with the extreme tightening of the economic blockade, are causing loss of human life and… crimes such as the illegal trafficking of foreigners, immigration fraud and human trafficking, which affect both countries and the region,” he said. The Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
Meanwhile, the US State Department said the talks covered areas of successful cooperation, but also identified obstacles to ensuring safe, orderly and legal migration.
The meeting also came just a day after US border authorities reported that the number of Cubans seeking to enter the country had doubled from February to March to 32,500 and is now five times the number it was in October.
Experts have said that an economic crisis in the country, aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic, is one of the main reasons people leave.
“We have seen, and this I think underscores the imperative of undertaking these conversations, we have seen a significant increase in irregular migration of a part of the Cuban immigrants who come to the United States,” the spokesman for the Department of Defense told reporters on Thursday. State, Ned Price. .
However, tensions between Washington and Havana have also been on the rise over other issues, including the Cuban government’s policy. suppression of protests and the continuing US sanctions against the Caribbean nation.
Cases of what became known as “Havana syndrome” were a major sticking point during the Trump administration, which also rolled back the rapprochement between the US and Cuba that had been initiated by former President Barack Obama.
President Joe Biden, who had supported Obama’s efforts while serving as his vice president, was expected to restore some of the Obama-era initiatives after he took office in January 2021.
But it has not yet done so, and US restrictions on Cuba remain at the level to which Trump had restored them. Migration talks between the two countries had not taken place since 2018.
Meanwhile, the Biden administration has been leaning on other regional governments to do more to prevent immigrants from reaching the US, most recently during a visit this week to Panama by Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of National Security Alejandro Mayorkas.
The Summit in Panama Citywhich included representatives from more than 20 nations from the Americas region, it did not include Cuba.