by Regina Cano
HAVANA TIMES — “No, cousin, you’ve just shattered my illusions. I was all set to go,” my cousin said disappointed. He said this after learning on the January 12th TV news of the new agreements made between Cuban and US representatives with regard to Cuban immigration to the US.
The commonly known “wet-foot/dry-foot” policy and the Parole Program for Cuban health professionals, which Washington had applied in third countries, will be revoked,” the government newspaper Granma reported the day after.
The Cuban government is committed to “…ensuring a regular, safe and organized migration flow…” and the United States “… will return all Cuban citizens (who try) to enter and stay by illegal means within this country to Cuba…” the same newspaper added.
The news spread like wildfire and for many Cubans, mostly young Cubans, this has been an upsetting decision which they feel is a great loss, as they had the palpable chance of reaching the United States by any means that allowed them to step foot on US soil. In spite of the fact that it was at the expense of risking their own lives, it was an irrevocable guarantee that they had to emigrate from their country of birth where they aren’t able to achieve things they can anywhere else, and this will now disappear.
Emigration from Cuba to the United States has been going on for a very long time as have the Cuban people’s never-ending dreams of reuniting families or achieving some kind of progress.
It has also involved the loss of many young Cubans’ lives, plus the loss of the necessary family ties between those who are separated by these two shores.
From now on, every Cuban who is found entering the United States will be returned to Cuba and subject to the same immigration laws which apply to other immigrants coming from any country in the Americas.
On my way home, after getting a copy of Granma newspaper, I heard things like “…Now these people have got what they really want…” or “and now how will people make their American dream come true?”, as many people have been planning for years just how to throw themselves into the sea, when hurdles in their life have stopped them.
Meanwhile, I read that the United States will continue to give legal access to a “minimum of 20,000” Cubans to the US per year and listened to people who still believed that they could manage to emigrate to the United States – which some people see as inevitable- using their creativity, overriding any ban.