Cuban Immigration to the North at a Near Standstill

Cuban migrants who were stuck in Puerto Obaldia, Panama.

Rosa Martínez

HAVANA TIMES — It’s pretty incredible but it’s true, there are hardly any more rafts heading towards the United States; I imagine that few would risk leaving for South or Central America to then head on to that country that used to take in every Cuban that reached its territory, whether by sea or land.

If some years ago, nobody thought that this could happen, suspicions began before hundreds and hundreds in Cuba gathered together in Costa Rica and in other countries in a crusade for survival which seemed never-ending.

How many of us have prayed for our son or daughter, parent, cousin, friend or classmate who left for Ecuador, Panama, Guyana…, and then take a long and dangerous route putting them in the hands of human traffickers and police forces in these countries in their attempt to step foot in the land of opportunity, at least where it was easier for them to get by. Entering under the wet foot / dry foot provision, they took refuge in the Cuban Adjustment Act and received unequalled financial aid and food until they got their work permits through.

The Cuban Adjustment Act still exists; however, it has been adjusted so much that there are very few benefits for the last ones to arrive.

However, those who managed to cross over, even though they have much less support, are still there, and now all they have left to do is fight, survive, struggle like any other immigrant and strive for citizenship.

However, thousands were stranded en route or a few feet away from the Mexican border. Nevertheless, after having sold their cars, homes, even the last of their belongings to pay for the crossing; they say they won’t go back. They prefer to stay in this limbo, than return to the island and they take a risk in another third world country, without the privileges they hoped for in the North.

Incredibly enough, it was Barack Obama who bluntly put a stop to what nobody, nor political speeches, nor the apparent improvements with the reforms process with the younger of the Castro brothers, had stopped, much less the tears of mothers who had lost so many children at sea.

Well there you have it, one of Obama’s last moves before leaving the Oval Office, eliminating the Wet-foot, Dry-foot policy, was successful. According to the US Coast Guard, not a single Cuban was caught trying to reach US territory by sea in the month of April.

This escape route has closed, but Cubans, the insistent ones that we are, will find another way, I’m sure. Those who do enter the US now will do so illegally. They will be undocumented immigrants like the rest of Latin Americans and will have to dodge Immigration officials.

Rosa Martínez

Rosa Martinez: I am another Havana Times contributing writer, university professor and mother of two beautiful and spoiled girls, who are my greatest joy. My favorite passions are reading and to write and thanks to HT I’ve been able to satisfy the second. I hope my posts contribute towards a more inclusive and more just Cuba. I hope that someday I can show my face along with each of my posts, without the fear that they will call me a traitor, because I’m not one.

9 thoughts on “Cuban Immigration to the North at a Near Standstill

  • If it had not been so easy for the Castros to get rid of their opponents simply by letting them emigrate to the US, it is possible that what happened in Europe in the early 1990s also occurred in Cuba in the same era.

  • Thanks armstro – note, Rich Haney didn’t respond because he cannot deny the reality that he has freedom of speech and Cubans don’t.

  • But remember Marcia that Obama’s overtures were firmly rejected by the Castro regime. Remember also that it took years of secret negotiations in Canada to enable that initial step of diplomatic recognition.
    Sadly, it was all for naught. Much though I scorn your current President, he can scarcely be assigned blame for the intransigence of Raul Castro and Communism.
    Obama’s expressed views had no place in Cuba. As examples, he said:

    “We believe in the rights of citizens, not just the rights of nations.”

    “We stand on the side of those who want to be free.”

    “The future of our children and grandchildren will be greater if others children have prosperity.”

    “A shared belief in the future of human freedom and human dignity.”

    Each of the above quotations Marcia is a direct denial of the views and policies of Communism. Each of them is for Raul Castro and the Communist Party of Cuba anathema.
    Obama expressed hope and even campaigned upon the concept of “change.”
    Nothing is feared more by the Castro regime than change!
    Donald Trump(f) is an irrelevance for Cuba.

  • I don’t know how you reach your conclusion Rich Haney. My comment is directed at the mental and physical energy which Cubans who were able to use the dry foot policy will now have to utilize differently. Shake an effervescent drink in a bottle and it may explode – similarly with bottled up fury unable to find escape.
    I have explained both here and in ‘Cuba Lifting the Veil’ my views upon US involvement in Cuban affairs since 1823.
    To me, Havana Times is not about a discourse by unsuccessful Americans about the wrongs which they apparently suffer in their homeland, it is about discussion of Cuba, its people and the oppression by which the Castroi regime keeps its power and control. I realise that there are contributors like yourself who favour the Cuban people being held in political thraldom, not being allowed to openly express their opinions and subjected to censorship and kept in penury, but there are tthose like myself who favour the people of Cuba being allowed the privileges of free speech, freedom of the press and open mutli-party elections, so that they can determine their own future.
    Both of us can express our views openly in these columns, but you would deny others the same opportunity.

  • Understanding Obama’s general intentions (the complete opposite of our current president), I suspected that changing the Wet Foot / Dry Foot law was probably a concession for a better deal (relations) between the US and Cuba. I think that it just didn’t get completed. Now, every thing is up for grabs and our president comes from a place of hate and discrimination. It is sad, indeed.

  • There are still other legal means of getting into U.S. All is not lost. But that WAS quite a surprise what Obama did just before leaving office. It just goes to show, you never know what these politicians will do next regardless of their party affiliation!!!!!!!

  • In other words, Carlyle, now that a few Obama corrections still stand — such as at least the temporary ending of the extremely discriminatory Wet Foot-Dry Foot policy — you are predicting that the U. S. taxpayers and the U. S. reputation (ZERO to 191 in the UN regarding its Cuban policy) will persist and even be enhanced. Sadly, you may be right…sadly for innocent Cubans and sadly for innocent Americans.

  • Sadly, there may be a hidden advantage for those who wish to see the end of the communist dictatorship. People like those who previously left, will now remain and have to find other ways of demonstrating their detestation of the regime – bottled up fury can explode!

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