The New Escape Route for Cubans is Called ‘Nicaragua’

Dozens of people wait in the Copa Airlines line in Havana to get a ticket to Managua. (14ymedio)

By Yoani Sanchez (14ymedio)

HAVANA TIMES – One of my first memories dates from 1980, when I was not yet five. In the Havana tenements where I lived the shouts of several neighbors captured my attention and I looked out into the hallway. A large group was shouting insults at a young man who had decided to emigrate through the port of Mariel. Forever engraved in my memory is that explosion of curse words and livid faces.

Now we are experiencing another stampede, but unlike those years, when the Soviet bear sent substantial resources to Cuba, the official pickets don’t have eggs to throw against the doors of those who want to escape the country, nor paint with which to smear their walls with slogans. Instead, the authorities seem eager for the social pressure cooker to be alleviated and new emigres to be added to the list of those who send remittances to the island.

On this occasion, instead of opting to open a pier for all those who would like to come to look for their family or lifting the closure of the borders so that thousands of precarious rafts could cross the Straits of Florida, as happened in 1994, officialdom has come up with a formula that kills many birds with one stone. Thanks to the complicity of the political ally Daniel Ortega, it was announced this week that Cubans do not need a visa to enter Nicaragua.

The Central American country thus becomes the hope of all those who can no longer endure the material hardships and the lack of freedom. But Managua is not the final destination, just a first step to embark on the route to the southern border of the United States. The Plaza of the Revolution is well aware of these expectations and estimates that in a few months thousands of its citizens will crowd those border points demanding to enter.

With the move it has just made, the Cuban regime ensures Joe Biden will very soon have a headache, along with a great internal discussion due to the considerable increase in the number of migrants coming from this island. While, by the way, freeing the Island from the most dissatisfied and rebellious, those who might star in the next social explosion like the one that occurred on July 11.

But mass departures are a double-edged sword. The US Administration may see the matter very differently from what Havana projects, and the escape of thousands of Cubans would also have many effects on an already aging society. If, over the next few months, this Island loses a part of its young people, its professionals and those with enough self-esteem to believe that they can prosper in a competitive environment, not only will a democratic change be delayed, but it will also postpone the economic recovery and development of the entire country.

Toying with migratory alchemy can also bring other bitter surprises for Castroism.

Read more from Cuba here on Havana Times.

16 thoughts on “The New Escape Route for Cubans is Called ‘Nicaragua’

  • Nick, of course I wasn’t referring to all Cuban exiles as demented extremists. I totally agree with what you say that a relatively small percentage of them are extremists.

  • Curt,
    Apologies for saying you got dates mixed up. I get what you mean now you have clarified.
    Regarding ‘demented extremists in Miami’:
    I feel sure you are talking about a certain percentage of Miami dwellers of Cuban birth?
    I know various people who have emigrated from Cuba to the USA. And to other parts of the world. Some are as dear to me as family. Some have political opinions different to others. Some are totally apolitical. None of them could be described as ‘demented extremists’. Although one or two could be described as extreme but only in the sense of how many hours at a time they can keep on partying!!!
    But I do take your point.
    There is an element within Miami which is as extreme as it is influential.
    They boast of their ability to get the vote out. They support dirty little US governmental tricks which are specifically designed to make life more difficult for people in Cuba. They praise those who took part in the miserable failure at Playa Giron. There are even some who praise the U.S. trained terrorist, Posada Carriles.
    They couldn’t give a damn about democracy. They support the sinister trump who tried to put a stop to democracy in the USA. Their representatives and spokespeople lurk on the disturbingly right wing extremes of the wide U.S. political spectrum.
    Their objectives?
    To control Cuba. And to make millions of dollars from that control.
    They don’t give a sh*t about finding solution to this decades old impasse. They hated President Obama. They were 100% against the thaw in relations. They are 100% against any normalised policy toward Cuba. They wish to continue the warped U.S. policies which are condemned throughout the rest of the world. They want people in Cuba to suffer as much as possible.

  • Let it be noted ! Curt and I agree ! Donald J. Trump is a liar !

    Where we disagree is about freedom for Cubans, which I favour, and Curt doesn’t.

  • Curt if you think than the Cubans exile is demented image how demented a unproductive dictatorship trying the same policies back and forward with the same results, paying the workers in a currency and selling goods in another type of money creating a deep social and economic class and still calling that disaster socialism. Delusional thieves who do not want to leave power.
    Obama tried his best to make history but the day after he left the Danas de Blanco headquarters was raided and some independent journalists were hit with police’s citations. There are right now more than 600 people in jail for only protesting on 11J among several minors from 15 to 17 years old. Two weeks ago under pressure of the UNICEF a fifteen years old boy was released not without the state police making his mother do a public video saying she was against her son’s decision to protest against the “government”. In what country on the world a mother would scold her children for using their humans rights?!?! Talking about demented twisted people with power

    Here this testimonial video if thus brave young Cuban getting arrested on November 2020 who still incarcerated for only claiming freedom down with a government that nobody voted for.

  • I didn’t mix up my years. Obama announced the new Cuba policy of engagement in December of 2014. He visited Cuba in March of 2016. That is what I meant to say.

    I wanted to add something. Trump initially supported Obama’s engagement with Cuba early in his campaign. It wasn’t until he interacted with the demented extremist exiles in Miami that he changed his tune. He needed the Florida votes and he got them.

  • President Obama was playing the long game. A game that was not dependent upon any unlikely or immediate reciprocation. That’s what he and his negotiators have clearly and categorically stated.
    A long game which intended to right some historical wrongs and produce gradual change and long term betterment for Cubans who live in Cuba.
    Sure, Curt got the year mixed up. That doesn’t mean that he’s mixed up regarding the effects of President Obama’s policy. These policies were beneficial to Cuban people as Curt has stated. There was a thaw. Not a sudden seismic change, but a move toward a better direction. That’s why he was and will remain, so popular in Cuba.
    By contrast, trump’s policy was to put the metaphorical jack boot back on Cuba’s throat.
    That’s why most people in Cuba will always think trump is a piece of sh*t.
    President Biden is the next cab offa that old rank.
    Maybe at some point he will show some mettle and do what he said he was gonna do and reverse trump’s atrocious anti Cuba policies.
    Then again maybe not. Perhaps cowardice and the need to secure FLA votes next time around will prevail.

    President Obama is a decent and clever man. On Cuba he didn’t try to write a whole new book but he did turn the page.
    It got turned back again.

  • It is seldom that there is good news about Cuba, but Curt has provided some by informing the world at large – or at least, those who read HT, that Raul Castro “has one foot in the grave”.

    The use of various stimulants can and probably has led Curt’s claimed “half-mind” into some confusion.

    The reality Curt is that Obama visited Cuba in March 2016, not in as you suggest, in 2014. Secondly, it was Fidel Castro – now as you say “dead for 5 years”, who poured “cold water” on Obama’s overtures. He did so on March 28, 2016 in a lengthy letter published in ‘Granma’ and read on all eight Cuban TV channels at 6.00 p.m. on the same date – it took fourteen minutes.

    The following day Bruno Rodriguez Parilles – of whom you may possibly be aware even in your confusion, gave a speech in which he baldly stated that: “there will be no reciprocation”.

    Even although Donald Trump is a well recognized liar, he cannot claim to have influenced Fidel Castro’s rejection of Obama’s endeavors.

  • Even though Fidel has been dead for 5 years and Raul has one foot in the grave, Moses and Carlyle believe they both still run Cuba. That’s why they use Castro in the plural term.

  • Maybe if the Cubans start coming to the US in droves, the Biden Administration will be forced to negotiate with the Cuban government. After all, when Obama made his gesture in 2014, things started to really open up in Cuba. Anyone with half a brain knows that a hostile US policy towards Cuba causes repression against dissidents. Trump ruined Cuba when he threw cold water on Obama’s opening. The Trump Administration and now Biden don’t care at all about the people living in Cuba. They just want to please a bunch of demented extremists who live in Miami. Votes is the name of the game!

  • Anti Imperialist seems to suggest that I should think differently.
    He appears very confident in his assertion that others should think the same way that he does, whatever that may be.
    I’m not in favour of telling others how to think.
    This would apply both to the Cuban Government and to their opponents.
    Anti Imperialist, who often takes to his keyboard to criticise me, would clearly fall into the latter group when it comes to telling others how to think. It’s dreary to see people simply fall into line. There are curious ironies at play here which I refer to in my previous comment. These ironies are clearly lost on some of those who prefer to simply fall into line.
    Rather than contribute any original thoughts, sadly, the choice often seems to be lame criticism and telling others how to think. Hey Ho.
    Yet more of the same. No surprises.

  • Nick is showing off his expertise again. He has no idea what it is like to be a Cuban in Cuba where for criticizing a government policy or Communist Party leader, dare to call for more citizen rights, or worse yet participate in a protest demonstration, you can sumarily lose your job, your studies, any future in the socialist paradise and/or be jailed for years on outrageous charges, like public disorder or disobeying authority, or trying to destroy the revolution, without due process.

    Instead of concentrating on Cuba, Nick continuously diverts to the US, the country he says he loves but also loves to hate. People like Nick don’t think Cubans deserve 10% of the citizens rights he has in the UK because of the evil USA governments.

    Nick says he is fortunate to have a “nuetral” point of view, although his comments are far from reflecting that while he accuses much more informed Cubans of being too one-sided.

  • The usual one sided and context-free stuff.
    People from many parts of the Americas try to make their way to the USA. It’s the land of the free. The land of milk and honey.
    It is a truly great and unparalleled place where opportunities and adventures can be found – as I know from personal experience.
    What the article very conveniently fails to mention is the fact that the majority of those who try to make it north up the continent from Caribbean and other American states, are from capitalist countries.
    There is an irony at play here. Cubans leave Cuba to get to the USA which, despite condemnation from the entire world, retains its metaphorical Jack boot on Cuba’s neck.
    Those that get there will seek to bypass the draconian limitations which are imposed upon remittances. These remittances will then proceed via underground means thus depriving Western Union of their percentage.
    And why does this circus continue?
    Because anyone who thinks that number 1600 Pennsylvania Ave would be a nice place to live, understands the key importance of FLA electoral college votes. That is the sole reason why this circus continues.
    As someone fortunate to have a fairly neutral viewpoint, and who thinks that the USA and Cuba are both wonderful countries despite their respective flaws, I can see the irony. Although it may well be an irony that is lost on (the also wonderful) Yoani.
    My own take on this remarkable pair of nations is simply this:
    Two of my favourite countries in the world, but two whose revolutions have so far, produced very mixed results.
    And the ironies are rich indeed:
    The USA (land of the free) tries very hard to restrict the freedom of its citizens to travel where they choose (if their chosen destination is Cuba).
    According to this article, it would seem that Cuban citizens are given the freedom to make the opposite journey.
    Freedom is interesting concept.
    It’s not as straightforward as some people make it out to be.
    Including some people who make naive, one-sided comments here.

  • Hope Biden take this like an act of war The dictatorship of Nicaragua is accomplice with Havana to get rid the potentials protester and they even probably would put in an Venezuelan airline for free the 600 protesters from J11 and transfer them to Nicaragua In the way to the Mexico -USA Border with the complicity of the new Mexican die hard leftist president. Act of war. Is time USA Get tough with the Cuban junta once for all.

  • It is more than curious that the Castro regime, in its insatiable desire to hold on to power and wealth, are willing to allow their best and brightest to more easily emigrate rather than risk another 11 July rebellion. As Carlyle McDuff points out in his comment, this is an act of desperation. What do the Castros know that we don’t know that would encourage them towards this lenient decision?

  • They need to move fast.

    Remain in Mexico restarts next week, and there is only a year to the 2022 midterms

    The dynamic on the southern border will change dramatically in a year.

  • An example of communist complicity. The pressure created by freedom seekers, threatens to blow the lid off the kettle, so release the steam! Thus those of the younger generation possessing the individual thought and talent necessary to create a vigorous economy, are lost to their nation.

    A generation ago, Fidel Castro described their predecessors as: “scum”. To a degree in that it is their talents that are required to float to the top, instead of sinking into the communist morass, he was correct.

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