Last Year 14,000 Repatriated to Cuba

By Ivette Leyva Martinez  (Cafe Fuerte)

HAVANA TIMES — A total of 14,000 persons managed to be repatriated in Cuba over the course of last year, a record figure ever since the Cuban government introduced the 2013 migration reform policy, according to official reports.

“These 14,000 people who decided to come and live in Cuba is one of the greatest immigrations we’ve had in recent years,” said Juan Carlos Alonso Fraga, the director of the Population and Development Research Center at the Office for National Statistics (ONEI), during a recent appearance on the TV show Mesa Redonda.

The official explained that in the course of 2017 so far, there are also signs of “a trend in this kind of immigration which involves repatriated Cubans, some of whom have been out of the country for many years, and of foreigners who decide to take up permanent residence in Cuba.”

Of all ages

He also added that there are people of all ages among those who are being resettled in Cuba, with an emphasis on people aged 50 years and over, most of whom are based in Havana.

Last year’s figure of repatriated people who took up permanent residence on the island is higher than the total number of people who decided to do this between 2013 and 2015. The vast majority of people are those who immigrated to the United States.

“This reveals a growing interest in Cuban citizens to return to their country on a permanent basis, which doesn’t stop them from traveling abroad and leading a normal life like any other citizen of any other nationality,” explained Ernesto Soberon Guzman, the director of Consular Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MINREX), during the TV show.

Previous government statistics show that ever since 2013, when Raul Castro’s government put the migration reform process into effect which made red tape to travel abroad a lot more flexible, over 13,000 Cubans had been repatriated voluntarily from the United States.

Those who can and can’t

In 2015, statistics from the Immigration Office indicated that 9,400 people who had emigrated before the migrations reform process, returned with the objective to live in the country permanently. Out of these, 5,000 left and went abroad again.

The 2013 migration reform authorized residents abroad to request their return and permanent residency in Cuba, which had to be previously requested from diplomatic representatives or the Ministry of Interior (MININT). The new policy opened the way for many Cubans living abroad to return.

However, the Cuban immigration policy denies the return of people who have been involved in “hostile actions against the political, economic and social bases of the State,” which means the automatic disqualification of thousands of emigres who oppose the regime in Havana.

Those interested in being repatriated must designate, beforehand, a home where they can stay and the Cuban authorities will give them an answer to their application within 90 days.

Repatriation requirements

The requirements to make an application in line with the migration reforms process, which has been in effect since January 14, 2013, are:

-Put in an application explaining the reasons why they want to resettle in the country.

-Present a valid passport.

-Inform the authorities of a reference person they have in Cuba who is committed to ensuring their accommodation and support when needed, until the person making the application can obtain their own home and income.

-To pay the required tax or consular fee in accordance with current laws in force.

However, the reality is that many repatriates keep their residency in the United States and other countries at the same time, and some people stay on the island for periods of time or travel there regularly enough so that they can maintain their legal status in both countries.

The migration reform law stipulates that Cuban residents living in Cuba can leave the country for a period of 24 consecutive months, without losing their full rights as citizens.

Between 2001-2015, a total of 517,638 Cubans have obtained permanent residency in the United States and over 275,000 have managed to become US citizens, according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Office.

12 thoughts on “Last Year 14,000 Repatriated to Cuba

  • If the US is so racist then don’t come here! We’re the only country that up until a couple of months ago gave Cuban’s automatic citizenship. Sounds like a pretty strange policy for a “racist” country to have.

  • Then these thousands repatriating know what they are returning to and desire to live there; obviously, they are not returning to live in any “atrocities” to which you refer. Your point would seem inaccurate. They are voting with their feet to leave the US and live again in Cuba- they’ve seen the “truth” and do not want to live here anymore. To me, that says much more than your accusations.

  • But equally Manuel Ortega, Cuba is only for the poor ‘mass’. There is no provision for individuality. As for the Cuban toilets! How would you describe them?
    A coffee in Cuba costs 8-12 pesos (El Rapido) a mango 5 pesos and an avocado 5 pesos. Combined that totals 22 pesos which equals one days pay. So, in the US a coffee costs $2, a mango 80 cents and an avocado 75 cents -total $3.55. That equals a fraction of one hours pay.
    I am not praising the USA, just pointing out reality for average Cubans.

  • Any cuban abroad that ever been denouncing the Castro’s regime repression and crimes are not allow back. That is a fact. The dictatorship has the power and the last world on who can go back to the Castro’s Ranch.

  • Olgas, if they are “telling the world the atrocities committed by almost 60 years of a family in power..” and everything is so horrible in Cuba, why are they repatriating?

  • “… They don’t realize they are fooling no-one…”

    Except of course lots and lots of naive Cubans.

  • It is so true. They go to rental shops in Miami and rent all the bling they can get their hands on to impress their families and friends in Cuba. They don’t realize they are fooling no-one

  • I agree. Totally true. Cuba looks very good after cleaning toilets for American racists who pay minimum wage. When you can’t afford a mango or an avocado, and a coffee costs $2US, and health insurance is unaffordable, the US is only for the wealthy.

  • Wow? Finally a comment from you that I agree with.

  • “… For many Cubans, their impression of the outside world will be more realistic based on their contact with Cubans who have been abroad…”

    Sometimes, but a HUGE number of returning Cuban Americans give a completely skewered impression of life abroad.

    Havana is packed with Cuban Americans staggering under loads of cheap bling and stories of their high life in the US and elsewhere, when in actually they’re living in a crap apartment, buried in debit and slaving away at some horrible job.

    You’d never know it to look at them though.

  • A lot if those repatriated take some kind of Aid from the USA government in direct deposit to theirs banks accounts then theirs families send then the money. I wonder what constitutes hostility against the state? Telling the world the atrocities committed by almost 60 years of a family in power with one political party allow to exist, lack of free speech and information? Hostility is like everything in that island. An Euphemism.

  • For many Cubans, their impression of the outside world will be more realistic based on their contact with Cubans who have been abroad.

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