The Insidious Use of Migration against Cuban Citizens

Four Cuban migrants cross the Rio Grande in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua (Mexico). (EFE/Luis Torres)

In Cuba we have suffered for decades an ideological apartheid that segregates citizens into two camps: “revolutionaries” and “worms.”

By Yunior Garcia Aguilera (14ymedio)

HAVANA TIMES – On June 22, 1990, before the United Nations, Nelson Mandela firmly demanded that the sanctions against Pretoria be maintained. The African leader wondered what mistake had been made to allow a country with apartheid to be seated after the Universal Declaration of Human Rights or the Nuremberg Trials. He strongly urged that the measures not be relaxed until the crime is stopped.

In Cuba we have suffered for decades an ideological apartheid that segregates citizens into two camps: “revolutionaries” and “worms.” Those who have been pigeonholed in the second group have suffered imprisonment, physical and psychological torture, persecution, acts of repudiation, exclusion, censorship, harassment, separation from their jobs or expulsion from their places of study, forced expatriation and even death.

The historical amnesia that they try to impose on us from the propaganda machine cannot erase horrendous memories such as the shootings, the UMAP (Military Production Aid Units), the ’parameterization’, the sinking of the tugboat March 13 or the combat order of July 11 of last year, where the “revolutionaries” obtained a license to stone, beat or shoot at the demonstrators.

There are testimonies that claim that several public health centers were instructed to deny medical assistance to those they considered “worms.” The irrefutable mark of that apartheid that we suffer is summarized in the phrase that affirms that the streets, the common space, belong only to the ethnic group that carries the revolutionary gene in its cells.

The accession of Miguel Díaz-Canel to the one-party throne has been a huge setback for the aspirations of citizens in areas such as freedom of expression, pluralism, social participation, rights, economic prosperity or democratic changes. Today, a generation without charisma, mediocre to the core, lacking legitimacy or historical weight, clings to the reins of power. The current leadership knows that it no longer has the support of the majority, and the panic of suffering the same fate as Nicolae Ceausescu is reflected on their faces.

That’s why they quickly resort to the club and the gag. That’s why they keep the largest number of political prisoners behind bars in all of Latin America and see young people as a major danger. That’s why they unanimously approve a reactionary, cowardly and medieval Criminal Code. That’s why they include penalties of up to ten years in prison for the crime of treason that not even contemporary monarchies have taken so far.

It’s a fact that the majority in Cuba is already fed up with the dictatorship and want change. Opinion is divided into how and where. Many were optimistic when Obama decided to try a new strategy, defrosting tensions and trying to empower the private sector on the island. Trump returned to ice and aggressive speech. Now Biden zigzags between isolation and the relaxation of sanctions.

But beyond the leaders’ back and forth is a population of 11 million trapped in hopelessness, misery, impotence and fear. That same citizenry that erupted on June 11 today finds no choice but to sell everything, grab a backpack and cross borders. Although the ruling press says with cynicism that Cubans go to Nicaragua to contemplate the lava of the Masaya volcano, we all know that the stampede advances much further north.

The regime, an expert in turning its defeats into victories, has always used migratory waves for a triple purpose. First, the exodus serves as an exhaust valve to release internal pressure. Second, migration crises are used as weapons to put anyone sitting in the White House on the ropes. These frequent exoduses have almost always been the responsibility of Democratic administrations. Lyndon B. Johnson naively believed that the quarter of a million Cubans who left through Camarioca and the Puente Aéreo could return to Cuba in a short time.

Jimmy Carter lost the 1980 elections, among other things, due to the bad press that exaggeratedly reported the exodus of the Mariel Boatlift. Clinton had to set up the Guantanamo Naval Base as a temporary refuge to avoid a collapse in south Florida, during the Rafter Crisis. But the third and most Machiavellian use of migration by the regime is to convert exile into economic investment. Every Cuban who flees becomes a potential sender of hard-currency remittances.

The vaunted national sovereignty is nothing more than a mirage, a kidnapping, a fallacy.

Read more from Cuba here on Havana Times



14 thoughts on “The Insidious Use of Migration against Cuban Citizens

  • i am rather surprised at Nick’s reaction to Moses comment which seems to me to be fairly accurate. The US does have enormous military power – even almost twenty years ago, that was demonstrated in Iraq. There is little doubt, that if that level of fire power was brought to bear upon Cuba, the Cuban military would be overpowered in a matter of hours rather than days.
    But obviously, Nick’s comments are a consequence of built up frustration that has suddenly surfaced in the form of abuse. Moses’ view of the Cuban regime running contrary to that of Nick’s, but even more, that oft displayed detestation that Nick has for everything related to US politics. Moses being an American is a suitable target.
    Maybe upon reflection, Nick will cool down – I hope so!

  • Moses Patterson spouts the usual trash.
    He has previously stated on these comments pages how he thinks that his Nationality puts him at a superior level in terms of the human order. He has previously talked of the innate exceptionalist nature of himself and those who, by pure fluke, share his nationality.

    To reinforce the assertion that he belongs to some kind of self declared master nationality Mr P states:

    ‘…..the US military would quash the Cuban military in a single day’

    Sounds like some kinda sorry-ass, nationalistic, putinesque horsesh*t to me.

  • Discussion of a US military invasion of Cuba is ridiculous. Even provoked, the US military would quash the Cuban military in a single day. Therefore, it would never take place. lt’s that whole David and Goliath thing. Except in this case, David gets his butt kicked immediately. Yes, there are some upsides for the failed Castro regime to continue to foment migration to the US. But the downsides: losing a good chunk of the population in the prime of their productivity; economically empowering the segment of their population most opposed to Castro dictatorship, and lastly; increasing the moribund Castro economy’s dependence on remittances. These downsides more than offset the pressure valve argument.

  • Thanks Nick, I had imagined that you might comment upon “nit pick”, but my little bit of fun obviously went un-noticed.

    It is probably correct that Bobby was the smartest of the Kennedy brothers, but although there is much sentimental expression in the US of what might have been if JFK and/or Bobby had lived, there is not much of substance upon which to base such views.

  • Mr MacD,
    Great Khrushchev quote.
    And an interesting angle on the outcome of the Khrushchev-Kennedy negotiations. There was short range nuclear weapon withdrawal on both sides. But my understanding is that the USA would have pulled out of Guantanamo Bay if they had really been pushed.
    In other words, Khrushchev actually sold Cuba a little short.

    My understanding of the Kennedys is that Bobby was the one with the real brains.

    The USA has indeed stuck to this commitment so far.
    I hope this continues despite the pleading for invasion from certain quarters.

  • S Lallyt,
    I respect your point of view.
    Indeed, it is incumbent on us all to always try to respect everyone else’s point of view.
    You state that the USA and Cuba are rotting inwardly.
    Would you be able to indicate which parts of the world you feel are not rotting inwardly??

  • Well Nick, one can nit pick about US actions and commitments. But not I think about the agreement between Khrushchev and Kennedy. It was the major action within the Presidency of Kennedy, and all its commitments were carried out. Even for the US, breaking those commitments would raise world-wide condemnation – 192 votes of support for lifting the embargo being indicative.
    As I previously wrote, there is no doubt that Khrushchev was the victor in the agreement regarding removal of the nuclear weapons from Cuba, and in building the Berlin Wall to add to the Iron Curtain. Kennedy was correct in defining the relationship between the two:

    “He walked all over me.”

    The Kennedy family – not Joe, but the descendants, always pride themselves upon being educated, intelligent, forthright and somewhat elite.

    But Khrushchev perhaps properly, described himself and his own talents by saying:

    “The dumbest peasant knows the horse best.”!

  • Cuba and USA are both rotting inwardly…. for very different reasons.
    Post Trump USA as I believe it will come to be known… with. greed, power, more guns than citizens, … and. Cuba with a leader whose heart is so hardened, does. he have one speck of compassion in that heart for his most vulnerable citizens, the elderly the disabled, the youth with no future.

  • Mr MacD,
    I cannot fault your historical reference.
    But are you suggesting that the USA always adheres to ‘commitments’ ??
    I actually agree with you if you are saying that the USA is highly unlikely to launch an invasion of Cuba. I certainly hope they don’t as I am entirely against unprovoked military invasions whether carried out by the USA, Russia, the U.K. or anyone else. Death, torture, rape, pillage, destruction, homelessness, misery, suffering etc are typical traits of these invasions.
    However, rather than referring to any likelihood of invasion, my point is more that there is a certain fraternity within the USA who have recently been openly campaigning for exactly that. A U.S. invasion of Cuba.
    Olga very recently stated that she is very much in favour of of such an invasion.
    I’m referring to the current reality of these people pleading for an invasion – the reality that they believe there is every justification for an invasion.
    Unfortunately this reality most certainly exists regardless of what any long-since-assassinated potus committed to.

  • As I have previously explained, John F. Kennedy made a commitment that the US would not take military action against Cuba. It is in consequence, irrelevant to suggest such action.

  • Hello Olga. Hope you are keeping well. I notice that you still like to mention my name in your comments. That’s very considerate of you.
    As I have said on many occasions, the Cuban Government puts out a lot of propaganda and I think it’s great that Havana Times re-publish opposing propaganda from 14ymedio.
    I may not agree with all of the propaganda emanating from Yoani and her team, but I hugely respect the fact that they have managed to keep putting out these opinion pieces from within Cuba.
    I would point out that the USA, as the biggest economy in America, attracts migrants from the rest of the region. Many of these migrants come from less successful capitalist countries. Therefore a sudden overnight switch to a Capitalist regime in Cuba may well not put an end to attempts to migrate from Cuba to the USA.
    Where I would entirely disagree with you Olga is the fact that your clearly stated solution to the problems in Cuba is an armed U.S. invasion.
    Similar to that which Putin has inflicted upon Ukraine. Unlike you Olga, I am not a fan of warmongering. As Curt points out, tragically, there is enough killing done within the USA. An armed U.S. invasion of a neighbouring sovereign country is definitely not a good idea.

  • Well Olgasintamales, Curt has responded! But he reflects Cuba, for nothing changes! The truth is unacceptable, to be described as bias. For every sin committed by the Cuban regime, he will uncover a greater one committed by the US. In Curt’s mind, the sins of the US excuse those of the Cuban regime.

    Ought Stalin be forgiven for some 18 million deaths, because Mao held responsibility for over 20 million? Such is a reflection of Curt’s form of logic!

  • A very biased narrative but at least it mentions the effect of the Trump sanctions on iCuban citizens. Olga, at least in Cuba you don’t have people shooting up schools.

  • Curt, Dan, Nick are you there, here ,? Hello?!

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