Cuban Adjustment Act Survives Day One of Negotiations

By Isaac Risco

The chief Cuban negotiator Josefina Vidal.  Photo:

HAVANA TIMES — The governments of the United States and Cuba showed their differences today on migration issues in the opening day of negotiations characterized by both sides as “productive” and “constructive”. The talks come after the historic announcement of diplomatic rapprochement in December, reported dpa.

High-ranking delegations from both countries met today at the Havana Convention Center for the start of a two-day dialogue that seeks to draw up a roadmap for the restoration of diplomatic relations, broken off by the US in 1961.

Today’s talks focused on migration issues, an area in which both countries brought out their differences despite the current political thaw.

“The fact that the talks have been productive with a collaborative spirit proves that even though there are differences and that they remain, the US and Cuba can find opportunities to work on issues of mutual interest,” said negotiator Alex Lee, who headed the US delegation on Wednesday.

US policy for Cubans fleeing the island and who manage to arrive illegally to the United States remains intact, said Lee.

“We explained to the Cuban government that my government is fully committed to maintaining the Cuban Adjustment Act and policies related to migration issues, which are commonly referred to as the “wet foot, dry foot,” provision, he said.

Both standards “continue to guide the US immigration policy toward Cuba,” said Lee, on the guidelines governing the entry of Cuban immigrants to the United States for decades.

The Havana government meanwhile reiterated his criticism of both policies which it says encourage illegal emigration and “brain drain.”

Alex Lee (C) led the US delegation on Wednesday. Foto: Ismael Francisco/

The Cuban Adjustment Act of 1966 and the wet foot, dry foot norm of 1995, allows Cubans who reach American soil to obtain permanent residence (green card) after a year and a day, despite having entered the United States irregularly.

Those standards “continue to be the main stimulus of illegal emigration from Cuba and illegal entrance to the US from third countries,” said the chief Cuban negotiator, Josefina Vidal. She also criticized the US government for encouraging Cubans working on missions in other countries to abandon their work, especially doctors.

“It is a reprehensible practice of brain drain that makes many countries lose vital human resources, something that goes against the migratory agreements,” said Vidal. The island has tens of thousands of doctors and other health personnel working in missions in Latin America and Africa.

Both parties, however, indicated they will continue the periodic migration talks first celebrated after signing an agreement on the matter in 1994, regardless of diplomatic negotiations. “It’s an issue we have been discussing for many years,” said Vidal.

Talks to guarantee a safe and legal migration “is consistent with our interests to promote greater freedom and greater respect for human rights in Cuba,” Lee said for his part. The latest round of migration talks was held in mid-2014 in Washington. The current round, scheduled for some time, was taken advantage of this time to initiate diplomatic negotiations.

Roberta Jacobson, assistant Secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs at the State Department, arrived to Havana on Wednesday. She will lead the US delegation on Thursday in the key phase of dialogue in Havana. Jacobson is the highest US official to visit the island in decades.

17 thoughts on “Cuban Adjustment Act Survives Day One of Negotiations

  • First of all, you have made valid criticisms of issues facing the US. I have never claimed that my country is perfect. What I do feel proud about is that the US, for all of our flaws, continues to strive to improve. Every criticism you have levied in your comment was covered first and best by US media. In Cuba, Castro media is mum on problems in Cuba. Second, you don’t know my background nor my politics. Your comments about me personally are conjecture based on a few hundred words. This blog is about Cuba. Try to stay on topic and limit the personal attacks. If you are not talented enough to refute my facts with your facts, name-calling is not a valid alternative. By the way, who cares what YOU take seriously?

  • ” If the Castros announced these reforms to take place immediately: free speech, independent media, freedom of assembly and open elections, the US would not be able to oppose the single-party communist government.”

    Cuba could do all those things and the US would still object.

    You must REALLY have a grudge against the Castros because everything you called Cuba out on could easily be said about the US. But it’s interesting that you criticize this particular form of government but do not criticize the US for the same offenses. You sound like one of those people who got assistance from the gov, made money, and then go on to bitch about paying taxes, and criticize people who need public assistance. I guess you are okay with welfare as long as its corporate welfare. You benefit from other people’s suffering, probably bitch about government regulation meant to protect workers from people like you who would like to pay employees chicken shit for wages and provide no benefits. In other words you are a hypocrite. Let’s look at the accusations you lodge at Cuba from the US side, shall we?

    -Independent Media: Where are your objections to the attacks on net neutrality? Do you really think we have “independent media”? More like state sanctioned corporate media.

    6 Corporations Control 90% Of The Media In America Read more:

    – Freedom of Speech:

    Also see,
    “Journalism is Under Attack, and Not Just in Ferguson”

    -Open Elections. What about our Koch problem? Citizens United? Gerrymandering? Voter Disenfranchisement? Elections are only open to white, rich people.

    -Freedom of Assembly: Talk to people in Ferguson if they have had “freedom of assembly” when police can be heard broadcasting messages across the city advising protesters that fail to follow their orders and dispurse will lead to arrest.

    I’ll take anything you say seriously when you recognize your double standard.


  • On the contrary, you need to keep up. You attempted to deflect with your claim regarding “pink” governments. I accurately responded to those comments. I will make it simple for you. If the Castros announced these reforms to take place immediately: free speech, independent media, freedom of assembly and open elections, the US would not be able to oppose the single-party communist government. But that brings me back to pigs flying…..

  • Read your posts. First you claim that the GOUSA’s only problem with Cuba is the lack of human rights. Then when put to the test you devolve into to Realpolitk and George Bush like talk of “terrorists”‘ fr the reasons for our interference, Nor can you explain the flip side. Sounds like the arguments of a true apologist’

  • Just to be clear: Obama pledged to close the prison for holding terrorists located at GITMO. He made no pledge to close the US Naval base at Guantanamo.

  • Obama has been trying to close GITMO since his swearing-in in 2009. It ain’t as easy as you think. China policy is different than Cuba policy. There are more than a billion people in China. Foreign policy has never been nor should it be “one size fits all”. But you should still leave it there.

  • If that’s the case then why do we trade with China? They certainly commit much more egregious acts of human rights violations. Unless you are referring to Guantanamo? In that case, yes, there ARE severe Cuba human rights violations on the island. President Obama has not kept his promise to close Guantanamo. But I don’t think thats what you mean so I’ll just leave that here and you can continue with your propaganda.

  • This is no dodge. The leftist countries you listed support and certainly defend terrorist and anti-US interests. As a result they draw the kind of attention from US intelligence services that serve to anticipate anti-US activities. It is our sovereign right to engage in activities to defend our sovereignty. US relationships with Colombia et al. are based in our mutual interests. We have a saying in the ‘hood I grew up in, “Don’t hate the player, hate the game”. We are the world’s superpower. We do what we must do to remain as much.

  • You don’t get it Moses. My response goes to your absurd assertion that the US doesn’t interfere with governments who don’t interfere with civil liberties. Care to repond on the merits rather than offer a pithy dodge ?

  • For lack of a credible reply to my comment, you resort to sarcasm. Nice.

  • The US used to have an embargo on Vietnam. When Vietnam agreed to sit down and negotiate the outstanding issues between them, including the repatriation of the remains of US servicemen, the US lifted the embargo. Same thing with China.

    Now Cuba says it’s willing to negotiate with the US to resolve the outstanding issues between them. If the negotiations are successful, then the US will lift the embargo.

  • Oh, I see. That’s why the U.S. has never tried to interfere with the “PinK” governments of Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador or Nicaragua. That also explains our embargos against Honduras, Colombia and Saudi Arabia.

  • FYI, a huge majority of U.S. citizens cannot accurately define communism, socialism, democracy .

    China is state capitalist in part and free-enterprise capitalist in part .

    China has never been communist . It is led by a party that calls itself communist but which never had a worker-led economy as is central to communism. .

    The same goes for Cuba, the Soviets, DPRK or the Eastern European bloc countries.

    Americans are not necessarily hypocritical although the people at the very top in government certainly are because they know the truth but tell lies to make them seem like the truth.

    N, most Americans are disinformed -having been deliberately fed lies so they believe a cetain way , misinformed -given false info believed by those doing the misinforming to be true and just plain generally uninformed -totally ignorant of history.

    To see how this works -read this article:

    Note : all articles at ZNET can be freely copied and republished as the reader wishes.

  • There is no mystery here. How many anti-Vietnamese dictatorship members of Congress are there? What major city or county in the US is politically controlled by a community of Vietnamese exiles? Finally, how many electoral college votes are controlled by the Vietnamese exile lobby? Cuban policy is driven by south Florida politics. Couldn’t be any easier to understand.

  • What is most puzzling is that we have diplomatic relations with Vietnam, a country we were at actual war, yet we have hung on the Cuban Embargo for so long. Too mysterious. I’m convinced there is something behind the closed doors they are not sharing.

  • Our gripe with Cuba has nothing to do with communism per se. Our gripe is about the lack of basic human rights in Cuba. It is no coincidence that the loss of basic human rights goes hand in hand with communism however. Nonetheless, if Cuba could allow freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, a free and independent press and open elections and still remain communist, the US would have no issue with Cuba. Of course, if pigs could fly….

  • Don’t u just love the USA?
    They are so down on communism that they forget they have been sleeping with China for years.
    Americans are the worst hypocrits, aren’t they?

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