By Osmel Ramirez Alvarez
HAVANA TIMES – There might not be many examples in the world of a government that remains totally indifferent to the grave fact that its citizens are emigrating en masse, except for Cuba that is. Instead of being concerned, it completely disconnects from the problems and poor treatment they receive in their attempt to make it abroad.
We often see the Mexican president or ambassador speaking out about their citizens who have emigrated to the US, or the treatment they receive while they embark on this journey illegally, which they don’t encourage, of course. This is pretty much the general rule for every country. Even Venezuela, where there is a regime that is trying to copy Cuba’s Leftist dictatorship model of government, but there is still a policy with repatriation programs (even if it clearly serves a propaganda purpose). Yet this isn’t the case in Cuba.
Our (?) government doesn’t feel the slightest bit responsible for the thousands of Cubans stranded on the US-Mexico border, waiting to apply for political asylum. We haven’t heard FM Bruno Rodriguez utter a single word about the matter at the UN or in his frequent press conferences, where he deals with the issues of everyone else but not the ones that really concern Cubans, such as this one.
Even President Miguel Diaz-Canel hasn’t brought it up. Plus, we have no idea if they are doing anything about it. It would seem that this “thinking like a country” doesn’t include those who decided to emigrate, looking for a future denied to us here. According to the government, “resistance” is the only dignified attitude and they’ve had us like this for 60 years now, resisting material hardship and ideological misery.
It’s worth highlighting the fact that we can’t use the president’s trending “temporary” crisis term for Cuba’s emigration problem, because it is the complete opposite, it’s “endemic”. Cuba was a country that received migrants during the time it was a democratic Republic, and even during Batista’s dictatorship. We became the opposite, a country of emigrants, a country of lots of emigrants! and this has been one of the negative results of the Revolution. This despite the low infant mortality rates or its high doctor – resident ratio.
However, this mass emigration problem doesn’t exist, officially-speaking. Apparently, Cubans are happy with the Revolution, with the Cuban Communist Party thinking for us, exercising our sovereignty, and we are happy to resist the Empire.
According to the government media those millions of Cubans, that live abroad, and the other extremely high percentage of those who dream about packing up and leaving, only do so because they let themselves be sweettalked by the Empire’s fake and deceiving propaganda, that sells them the misleading idea that they will live better under Capitalism.
It’s incredible, but they continue to brandish these hilarious and proven-to-be-false arguments, which are easier to debunk today, given our people’s greater level of communication thanks to Internet access that is almost entirely subsidized by their emigre relatives.
According to the Cuban government, Cubans in exile are traitors of the revolutionary process, who have only been tolerated since the ‘90s because of the government’s need to suck off the livelihoods emigres earn in the capitalist world which come in the form of remittances, trips back to visit, their sponsorship of businesses in Cuba and phone and Internet top-up cards which fund Cuba’s state-led telecommunications company, ETECSA. In short, they’re a necessary evil.
The fact alone that so many of our fellow Cubans are willing to apply for political asylum in the enemy country that their government has been fighting for 60 years, speaks volumes. That there are several thousands of Cubans piled up at the US border applying for political asylum and that this stream is constant, is enough reason for the government to be talking about it.
They should be going there and worrying about their citizens, taking them aid and negotiating fair treatment from the Mexican and US governments. They should also be analyzing the reasons for this radical decision and drawing up a plan to stop this constant flow.
Not attacking the consequences like they normally do mind you, but the underlying reasons. Not restricting travel rights or illegitimately negotiating the persecution and deportation of its citizens with other governments, but taking a good look at what is going wrong in Cuba and making the changes its people are calling for and need to stay in Cuba and working with the hope of a better future.
However, this isn’t the attitude the government of this country has. They want loyal soldiers, not citizens; they want them to resist poverty in its war against the US, not hope and opportunities to prosper; they want a hegemonic, single-party dictatorship, not a democracy for every Cuban and for the wellbeing of every Cuban.
From its emigres, they only want their money to perpetuate the system that forced them to leave in the first place. And, in order to make sure the libertarian spirit doesn’t spur them on to fight for a better Cuba, they pawn off their lack of action for letting them be able to visit their own country.
This is why they will be ignored as long as Cubans continue to gather in hordes at border controls, crossing rivers and jungles with dangerous human traffickers, in rafts across gulfs or oceans, or in immigration detention centers like stray dogs, fighting to escape this country without a future.
We sometimes hear Diaz-Canel, Raul Castro and Bruno Rodriguez voice their concern about Palestinians living in Israeli-occupied land, or social leaders being killed in Colombia, and even about the US’ gun problem. However, NOT a word about their citizens who have emigrated or are in the process of emigrating! They ignore them. What principles!