Why Do Cubans Emigrate?

More than 400 Cubans camping in a park in Acuña, Mexico.

By Elio Delgado Legon

HAVANA TIMES – Historically-speaking, Cubans have always traveled to the US, the most developed nation in our continent and with a similar climate to ours in some areas. Then, they would come back to their homeland with the dollars they earned there, as things cost less here because Cuba was an under-developed country with a low quality of life.

When the Cuban Revolution triumphed, on January 1, 1959, the first mass wave of immigration was led by dictator Fulgencio Batista, who was followed by the most prominent murderers and torturers of that era, who kept him in power for seven long years, during which 20,000 young people were killed for opposing him.

As you would expect, all of the politicians who had played the dictatorship’s game also left, as their parties were nothing but a facade, to give the world airs of a democracy that never really existed.

When the Moncada program began to be implemented, with the first revolutionary laws, such as the Agrarian and Urban Reform Laws, which ended farmer exploitation and the exploitation of every Cuban with high rents, most landowners and property owners emigrated to the United States with the hope that the Revolution would soon fall and they would return to occupy the properties that had been nationalized, so they could continue to exploit the working class. Many owners of large estates and buildings were US companies, who refused to receive the compensation stipulated by the law.

After these groups, an exodus began of people who declared themselves anti-Communist, without knowing full well why, because they had been intoxicated with the savage propaganda that came from the North. However, I knew many Cubans who declared themselves anti-Communist and when they learned about the Revolution’s humanist work, understood that they were mistaken and they joined the revolutionary project, and even became members of the Communist Party, as they had no clue what socialism and communism meant before.

With time, Cuba began to suffer the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the US, which became harsher and harsher, and many young Cubans began to see emigrating to the US and other developed countries (such as Canada and Spain) as a means to improve their personal and their family’s economic situation. The majority emigrated and continue to emigrate to the US, the country that has us under siege and been attacking us for nearly 60 years. The country that passed the Cuban Adjustment Act and the wet-foot/dry-foot policy, so as to encourage the illegal immigration of Cubans and use it as propaganda against the Cuban Revolution.

If the US blockade didn’t exist, and Cuba could develop its economy like we would like it to, we might not be able to make as much progress as large countries such as the US (which only did this with the blood of indigenous peoples, the exploitation of Black Africans and stealing half of Mexico’s land), but we would have many more humane things, more solidarity, and a fairer distribution of wealth amongst the population.

This in turn would make it a lot more attractive for Cubans to work and live in their own country, before trying their luck in a foreign country that has made our lives a lot more difficult for 60 years, the ultimately why Cubans emigrate to improve their financial situation in the first place.

Elio Delgado Legon

Elio Delgado-Legon: I am a Cuban who has lived for 80 years, therefore I know full well how life was before the revolution, having experienced it directly and indirectly. As a result, it hurts me to read so many aspersions cast upon a government that fights tooth and nail to provide us a better life. If it hasn’t fully been able to do so, this is because of the many obstacles that have been put in its way.



6 thoughts on “Why Do Cubans Emigrate?

  • I believe that people and whole families emigrate in an attempt to improve their living standards and quite often emigrate to the country that has caused their birth country most grief, for example from Cuba to America and from Ireland to England as two examples, and either return to their birth country with large amounts of money that they have earned from what they might possibly is the enemy, ie America, England. Both of these countries are seen by some to be Powerful now and in the past! Just a theory which could do with more research?

    Reply
  • Why Do Cubans Emigrate?

    Simple there’s no money and a communist dictatorship has been imposed that doesn’t work.
    Not to mention there isn’t much too do.
    They play domino’s and drink rum.

    Reply
  • Most immigrants emigrate to the wealthier capitalist countries.
    Most immigrants emigrate from the poorer capitalist countries.

    Reply
    • Cubans leave Cuba In Search of freedom, with the possibility to read any book they wanted, watch any show on TV or film without censorship, humans rights, individuals freedom, future, not police persecution for speak out against their government, freedom of speech, reunion, And better economical circumstances that what they have created by an incompetent dictatorship.

      Reply
  • Is simple. We Cubans are in the worst position of free economy ranking. the economy program of the cuban government is a disaster. We need to learn more about Australian and New Zealand reforms, or at least Vietnam or China. Cuban government doesn’t trust in their own citizens and the best engineers, doctors or creative workers decided to emigrate. The power of state is really high and start a business is really hard. By the way cubans only can sell sandwiches and rent rooms in a country with a very good human resources and people with many ideas for developing the country.

    Reply
  • The PCC will NEVER yield one iota of its power monopoly.
    I’m afraid that rules out completely the idea of following the examples of New Zealand or Australia as models for change!

    Reply

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