“Wet-foot, dry-foot” policy being repealed doesn’t mean it will end
By Pedro Campos
HAVANA TIMES — Repealing the US “wet-foot, dry-foot” policy will reduce the Cuban exodus, but it won’t eliminate it because the root cause of this problem continues to prevail: the centralized and authoritarian State regime which directly pays workers, imposed and maintained by those in power in Cuba, in the name of an nonexistent Socialism.
It’s worth remembering that the Cuban Adjustment Act (CAA) was passed in 1966, when hundreds of thousands of Cubans had already left the country and that the “wet-foot, dry-foot” policy was passed in 1995, as an amendment to the CAA, when another few hundred thousands of Cubans had again left the island fleeing the “Fidelista” system for various reasons.
The CAA and the “wet-foot, dry-foot” amendment were meant to help Cubans who decided that they could no longer live under the regime which remained in power in Cuba.
According to the Cuban and US governments’ joint statement, this repeal is an important step along the path to normalizing relations between the countries, although the Cuban government has repeated that the migration issue will not return to normal while the CAA continues to be in force.
However, today, many Cubans are sad and anxious because one of the channels that used to help them escape the unbearable system we have today has been closed, a system which doesn’t exist in any other country in our continent.
The collateral damage of this news is that it will darken the international impact of the repressive wave unleashed by Cuban leaders against the opposition and those who think differently and will increase the general feeling of a lack of support to the suffering and helpless Cuban people.
Some believe that by closing this valve, the “pressure cooker” will explode but they forget all of the outcomes of this possible explosion. Maybe they aren’t aware that Socialist-State inventions are knocked down from above, not from below, when they run out of options and have no other choice but to liberate productive forces and return to a market economy, private business and capital for free, private or joint work ventures. The real socialist will be able to develop standing on his own two, independent, feet.
Nobody should forget that, without democracy, the tie between repression and an authoritarian government, paternalism and populism creates a patronage system which is conformist and stagnant. Dissidents either confront the system, adapt or leave. With few opportunities to leave and adapt, the government will have to face an increase in conflict with the opposition if they don’t introduce reforms soon, which we all know what they are.
Once again, this “joint” measure reveals that it’s up to the Cuban people, to resolve our own problems if we don’t want to disappear as a nation. We don’t have any other choice but to do this in a peaceful, democratic and balanced way.
In my opinion, this agreement between the Cuban and US governments will not change the wish of hundreds of thousands of Cubans, maybe even millions, to enter the US given the fact that the bureaucratic and anti-popular system still reigns here, the root cause of our national exodus.
Less people will leave, but they will continue to do so while the current political, economic and social system remains in force here in Cuba, which has clearly failed and shows no hope for change in the future.