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government for human damages and the fight against international drug trafficking. Today, here in Matanzas, I must address a matter of paramount importance: the illegal migration from Cuba promoted throughout forty years by the United States. Embassy for Cuban nationals to migrate to that country. Migrating to the United States was an economic aspiration for hundreds of millions of people around the world, including millions of Europeans attracted by the material resources and living standard of a nation that not only emerged from World War II intact but also the wealthiest, most powerful country in the world following two major conflicts in less than 25 years, both devastating for the rest of the world economy.

The legal procedures required for Cubans to migrate to the United States between 1945 and 1959 were lengthy and extremely rigorous. law, invariably met with deportation or imprisonment. Nobody dared.

With the Cold War in full swing and McCarthyism in command, anyone even slightly suspected of communist or progressive beliefs, for which it was enough to have ever supported the struggle for better wages, or the concept of agrarian reform, would never be granted a visa.

Everything changed with the triumph of the Revolution on January 1, 1959. The first to leave the country illegally were the murderers, henchmen, torturers, embezzlers and thieves of the overthrown Batista dictatorship, who found a luxurious refuge in the United States. Since then, entry into the United States with no obstacles of any kind has become the norm for all those who illegally leave Cuba under any pretext. As soon as it became clear that a genuine revolution was taking place in Cuba and the first revolutionary laws were proclaimed, a mass exodus began of the upper class sectors.

The mansions they abandoned in Vedado, Miramar, Tarar and other upscale neighborhoods in Havana were occupied by the revolutionary state. Tens of thousands of young peasant women from the countryside and, after the 1961 literacy campaign, hundreds of thousands of scholarship students from humble backgrounds stayed in these houses turned into student residences during the first ten years of the Revolution. Thus, education became widely accessible to the children of all Cuban families before the Revolution was able to build thousands of new boarding and semi boarding schools, special schools and day care centers.

It must be said that not a single one of the upper class families’ homes was seized while they remained in neither the country nor the money they had deposited in the banks, which sometimes amounted to millions.

The Revolution never hindered legal travelling from the country to the United States or anywhere else in the world. administrations, on the other hand, have always encouraged illegal migration. Visas ceased to be a necessary requirement to enter the United States, without exception, regardless even of criminal records or crimes committed in the past; not a single illegal migrant was ever sent back to the country. All they needed to do was declare opposition to the Revolution, socialism, communism or that they were victims of political persecution. The category of immigrant also ceased to be applied to Cuban nationals; from then on, all Cubans living in any other country in the world would be called exiles. Oddly enough, they are exiles or victims of political persecution who almost without exception can travel to Cuba as often as they like.

Facilities for legal migration from Cuba were so extensively used and even abused in the first years of the Revolution that the United States virtually abducted over 14,000 Cuban children. intelligence agencies surreptitiously published and distributed false government bills spreading the criminal lie that the parents would be deprived of their children’s custody. Panic was thus sown among many middle class families who were frightened into sending their children away secretly, without any visa, on the same legal and regular airlines that flew directly to the United States. These children separated from their parents were received there and sent to orphanages or even detention centers for minors. It is imperative to recall these events. government abruptly suspended all regularly scheduled flights and legal departures from Cuba. due to the previously described fears. The only remaining possibility was illegal migration, which was encouraged by all means possible as part of the dirty propaganda against the Revolution and socialism. This policy gave rise to successive migration crises.

In February of 1963, the Kennedy administration provided a powerful additional incentive for illegal migration. immigration restrictions.

Despite the fact that there were no diplomatic relations or interests sections at that time, the two countries held negotiations. A memorandum of agreement was signed on December 6 of that year establishing an airlift between Varadero and the United States, which operated from January 1966 through April 1973. In this orderly and safe manner, close to 260,000 people could fulfil their wishes to migrate to the United States, and tens of thousands of families were reunited.

Despite all this, the United States continued to strongly encourage illegal migration, which kept on taking place since those traveling by way of the airlift required a visa and not everyone received one. In the United States, these individuals were paid salaries according to their qualifications. But, of course, the salaries paid in the most developed and wealthiest country in the world were incomparably higher than those paid in a neocolony that had only recently gained its independence, and which was at the same time underdeveloped, poor and strongly blockaded by the powerful nation with which it had maintained major economic, financial and commercial ties since the turn of the century. Yet our country steadfastly resisted this brain drain, and through a colossal educational effort, took on the task of training new professionals and technicians, and multiplying many times over the number of those who had been taken away. Senate and House of Representatives meeting in Congress approved the so called Cuban Adjustment Act, signed by President Johnson on November 2, 1966 which established special and exclusive status for Cubans. territory granted to all Cuban nationals leaving the country illegally the minute they set foot in the United States. Such right has never been extended to citizens of any other country in the world. Had the same measure been applied to the rest of Latin America and the Caribbean, today there would be many more Latin American and Caribbean citizens in the United States than people actually born there. Let us not even think about what would have happened had this rule been applied to the rest of the world.

Under such circumstances, after the airlift was suspended, it was inevitable that sooner or later another migration crisis would come up. This is what happened in 1980, when a situation similar to that in Camarioca was created but this time in the port of Mariel.

It was under President Ronald Reagan’s administration, on December 14, 1984, that representatives of the United States and Cuba governments concluded the second migratory agreement after negotiations. According to the text of the communiqu issued, these negotiations ended with the adoption of “agreements for the normalization of immigration procedures between the two countries and to put an end to the abnormal situation which has existed since 1980.” Its essential provisions were the following:

“The United States will resume issuance of preference immigrant visas to Cuban nationals residing in Cuba up to the number of 20,000 each year, in particular to close family relatives of United States citizens and of Cuban permanent residents in the United States. citizens.

“Cuba will accept the return of those Cuban nationals who came to the United States in 1980 via the port of Mariel and who have been declared ineligible to enter the United States legally. The number of such persons is 2,746 and their names appear on an approved list. [.] The returns will be effected at a rate of 100 each calendar month.”

The agreement further included 3,000 visas each year for “those persons who, having been released after serving sentences for acts which Cuban penal legislation defines as ‘Offenses against the Security of the State’, wish to reside permanently in the United States.”

The latter were included as the result of a demand made by Cuba, based on the consideration that these individuals had acted following instructions from the United States, which therefore had a moral obligation to grant them visas, since their counterrevolutionary activities at the service of a foreign power caused them to be shunned in our country and rendered difficult their incorporation to society.

The total number of Cuban migrants seemed sufficient. Although no time limit was established, over 300,000 people could have migrated in a legal and safe manner over the course of ten years, taking into account all three categories.

What happened with this agreement, which was undoubtedly positive and provided an unquestionably reasonable and fair way to deal with the problem?

With regard to the quota of up to 20,000, during 1985 the first year that the agreement was enforced only 1,227 visas were granted for legal migration. During the years 1986 and 1987 there was not a single illegal departure. The agreement had been suspended as a consequence of Cuba’s reaction to an unnecessary and obviously hostile measure adopted by the Reagan administration, namely, the creation of an official subversive radio station which with a deliberately hurtful and insulting intention they named after Jos Mart the apostle of our independence and the most profound political thinker of our Americas, a prophet and visionary who was the first to denounce the United States’ expansionist policy in this hemisphere at the expense of the Latin American peoples.
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