Those Who Migrate and Those Who Flee

Elio Delgado Legon

Terminal 2 at Havana's International Airport. Photo: Caridad

HAVANA TIMES — Human migration is a worldwide phenomenon that dates back to ancient times. Humans have always sought to improve their well-being by migrating from poorer to richer areas, from rural to urban areas, and from developing countries to developed ones. But such migrants never said they were “fleeing.”

When migration is for political reasons — as occurred in the era of fascist rule in many countries, like in the past epochs of the bloody dictatorships suffered in Latin America — those migrants were called “exiles.”

In many such cases, people had to seek asylum in foreign embassies to protect themselves from persecution and to save their own lives.

Propaganda campaigns against Cuba have used the term “exiles” to refer to all those who have emigrated from this country; and when they refer to them, they say they are “fleeing.”

The fact is that those who really did “flee” from Cuba, to avoid having to face justice, were the murderers and torturers of the Batista government and many of the politicians who supported the dictator.

Nevertheless, thousands of soldiers, sailors, police officers and officials who didn’t participate in torture or murder remained in the country, and no one bothered them. Some even remained for some time in the army as advisors, trainers, administrators, etc. Some even stayed until retirement.

Many left later on, but they weren’t “fleeing,” simply because no one was chasing them.

All of the media propaganda against Cuba emphasizes the number of Cubans who have emigrated to the United States.

However, they don’t mention the millions of Mexicans, Salvadorans, Guatemalans, Colombians, and people from other countries — more than 50 million — living in that country. They are there even though they don’t receive the official support that Cubans do through the Cuban Adjustment Act (legislation that aims to encourage illegal emigration from Cuba, by any means, even through the commission of serious crimes, including murder).

It’s this US-government-induced illegal immigration that is precisely what’s used as propaganda to say that Cubans are “fleeing communism.”

Control tower. Photo: Caridad

Another piece of propaganda used by the enemies of the Cuban Revolution is that people die trying to cross the Straits of Florida, encouraged by that legislation. What they fail to mention are the thousands of Latin Americans who die each year trying to enter the United States by crossing the border with Mexico.

What would happen if there were a similar law encouraging the rest of the immigrants from Latin America to come to the US? For them the situation is just the opposite, anti-immigrant laws are being passed.

Have you ever wondered what would be the level of Cuban migration to the US if there were no Cuban Adjustment Act?

I don’t think that many Cubans would risk leaving the security they have in their country to go to a foreign country to suffer the discrimination and persecution endured by other Latin American and Caribbean immigrants there.

Logically, there is not the same standard of living in a poor and underdeveloped country as there is in a rich and developed country. That is the fundamental reason why people migrate from one country to another, a population that is estimated at between 200 and 300 million people around the world. Many of them did in fact flee, but from hunger.

For the anti-Cuban propaganda, people in other countries “emigrate,” but those who leave Cuba are “fleeing.” One has to look more closely to see which ones are really migrating and which ones are fleeing.


14 thoughts on “Those Who Migrate and Those Who Flee

  • July 26, 2012 at 1:10 pm

    Elio, your bias in your analysis doesn’t allow you to understand the issue.

    Regarding all of those who “immigrate” from other parts of the world:

    – Do they have to pay an exit permit in their country, one which is more than their annual salary?
    – Do they have to pay for a letter of invitation, which is more than their annual salary?
    – Once they emigrate does the government confiscate their homes and cars?
    – Do they receive official taunts of “scum,” “mercenaries” and “traitors” for leaving their country?
    – Are they held up at airports and sent back to their countries of residence for having disagreed with the policies of the government of their country?
    – When they are denied permission to leave the country do they have to pay for it because the government doesn’t allow them out?
    – Are they required to enter their birth country with a passport from that country despite having another nationality?

    Answering these seven questions will place the matter in a better light.

    The creation of exiles by Cuban immigration policy has nothing to do with global migration.

    If you’re competing for a chance to appear on the “Round Table” television show, then you’re ready. But in an open forum you would be profoundly unqualified. There’s no competition for your bias.

  • June 23, 2012 at 9:43 am

    Moses please can’t we all get along?

  • June 16, 2012 at 6:12 am

    YES! my father was one such person a former entertainer and band leader Los Munequitos de Matanzas who did not flee but was allowed to leave with dignity and at his request (a former soldier) in the 80’s
    I was sent out of Cuba after the rev for my safety along with my mom. ion the 60’s .My daddy is now the same age as Fidel and enamored to Cuba albeit he chooses to reside in the US.with ocassional returns to Cuba.. Why can’t we all get along? And please do not blame the Cubans

  • June 8, 2012 at 5:35 pm

    Ok. mister who responds for a hate site, I do agree with you that the migration laws in Cuba should change. They are obsolete and respond to an epoch – the cold war – that doesn’t exist anymore. Ok, between the US there still is a cold war nonetheless… What I don’t agree with you and agree with Elio is that “Most Cubans flee Cuba”. Well, if to flee is “means to desperately want to get out of where you are and the destination to which you go is *less important*”, why do the majority of Cubans who move out of the island choose the US or more developed countries?

  • June 6, 2012 at 9:13 am

    I have posted all elements of the equation as far as Cuba goes. That is not “one sided”.
    All data is posted and correct.

    Other countries may require an entry visa for foreigners. that is a case of their national sovereignty and is not an issue in this debate. This is about how a country treats its own nationals, not foreigners.

    The issue here is the fact that Cuba requires exit and re-entry visas from its own citizens.
    What I decry is the violation of the International declaration of Human Rights by Cuba: the requirement of an exit and re-entry visa for its own nationals.
    There is nothing “radical” about it, quite the opposite. No “departure form the norm”.
    I just point out that Cuba should adhere to the norm and abandon its illegal treatment of its won citizens.

  • June 5, 2012 at 6:00 pm

    Better yet, access to higher education and free travel are rights that, in practice, are privileges.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *