HAVANA TIMES — I heard that the panelists of Cuban television’s Round Table program have been speaking in defense of the rights of immigrants to the United States for years, as they have the rights of African immigrants in Europe. Shouldn’t they begin by speaking in defense of those Cubans living in Havana who are arbitrarily deported and sent back to their provinces of origin by the police?
I also defend the rights of immigrants around the world who look for a better life in more developed countries. Cuban laws, however, call for the repatriation of Cubans who leave the country illegally. In the past, such individuals were imprisoned. Today, they merely return them to their place of origin.
I have a friend who does not dare offer an immigrant from Camaguey a temporary residence permit, even though he wants to, because such a permit gives this person additional rights and, as he foresees a rather difficult future in Cuba, he fears he will be forced to give him part of the house by law.
To put an end to migration within the country, legislators came up with this trap, which entitles the person given a permit to reside somewhere rights over that property. This makes it next to impossible for people to agree to such permits and turns domestic migrants into illegal immigrants… in their own country.
I say that the rights of these Cubans should be defended. We should not be so prone to point out the mote in another’s eye, not with the beam in our own. Cubans should have the right to travel and settle anywhere in the country, even if many people in Havana had adopted the shameful habit of rejecting those who are not from the capital.
Cubans ought to say nothing about emigration while there are laws that restrict the movement of nationals in their own country, when someone from a province in Cuba’s east cannot enter, leave or remain in the capital without being harassed by the police, who can accuse you of being an illegal immigrant in your own country.
To call Havana the “capital of all Cubans” is hypocritical propaganda. Whoever uses such a phrase is not deceiving those who are the victims of these policies. Havana is inhospitable, particularly for most Cubans – as nearly all of Cuba is.