[Marxism] Cuba: US provoking exodus, seeks migration crisis

Fred Feldman ffeldman at bellatlantic.net
Tue May 18 18:33:54 MDT 2004


(Bush's intensified restrictions on Cuban-Americans who
want to visit the island are a transparent reaction to
the Cuban plans, announced well earlier, to make visits
to the island easier for Cubans living abroad.-- 
Walter Lippmann, moderator, CubaNews list)
=========================================================

Article published May 18, 2004

Cuba: U.S. provoking exodus of Cubans 
to create migration crisis

By VANESSA ARRINGTON 
Associated Press Writer

HAVANA Cuba's foreign minister accused the U.S. government
Tuesday of trying to provoke a mass exodus of Cubans to the
United States by tightening its economic embargo against
the island.

Felipe Perez Roque said U.S. President George W. Bush's
administration was encouraging Cubans to leave the
communist-run island by adopting new measures designed to
"increase pressure, provoke more suffering and destabilize
the country."

Under existing law, the United States can interpret a
massive influx of Cubans to its shores as an act of war,
Perez Roque told a news conference.

But he stopped short of saying the U.S. government would
use a potential crisis as a pretext to invade the island.

Many Cuban officials say they fear an invasion is imminent,
given the Bush administration's aggressive campaign against
Cuba.

On May 6, Bush announced new measures to squeeze the
island's economy in a renewed effort to push out President
Fidel Castro. The steps include restrictions on money
transfers and family visits, increased efforts to transmit
anti-Castro television to Cuba and appointment of a
coordinator to plan a transition from socialism to
capitalism.

"We believe the objective of these measures is to instigate
a migration crisis," Perez Roque said.

Because of that, the United States is responsible for the
deaths that result from illegal migration, he said.
Hundreds of Cubans attempt the perilous 90-mile journey by
sea to Florida each year. Many perish.

The Cuban minister said the island welcomes back emigrated
Cubans and has been relaxing travel policies to encourage
their visits.

Cuba will host at least 200 overseas Cubans in a three-day
Nation and Migration Conference in Havana this weekend to
continue to work out migration issues, Perez Roque said.

The majority of participants will be coming in from the
United States, home to about 1.3 million Cubans, the
minister said. Others will come in from Spain, Venezuela
and other Latin American countries that are home to
thousands of Cubans.

Perez Roque said Cuba's migration policy has come a long
way in the last decade.

In 1994, only 35,000 Cuban emigrants came back to visit the
island. But in 2003, that number surged to nearly 168,000
Cubans, 115,000 of whom came from the United States, he
said.

He attributed the rise to more flexible measures such as
granting multiple entry visas to overseas Cubans and no
longer requiring they stay in hotels while here.

These steps are irreversible and show "maturity and
responsibility on the part of the Cuban government," he
said.

In contrast, the U.S. government has limited travel visas
and made it harder for Cubans to visit the United States,
Perez Roque said.

The United States authorized travel for nearly 38,000
Cubans in the year 2000, but less than 6,800 were given
permission to visit last year, according to the minister.



  





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