Cuba’s problem is not emigration, it’s the dictatorship: warns the Center for a Free Cuba before US-Cuba talks

Press release

Cuba’s problem is not emigration, it’s the dictatorship: warns the Center for a Free Cuba before US-Cuba talks

Washington, DC, April 20, 2022

Contact: John Suarez / Janisset Rivero (612)-367-6845

Center for a Free Cuba. Given the announcement of talks on immigration between Havana and Washington, the Center for a Free Cuba considers the following points essential:

  1. Havana has used Cuban emigration as a political weapon to repeatedly leverage negotiations with Washington over the past 63 years, from Camarioca in 1965 to the current crisis of Cubans crossing the border from Mexico into the United States. The dictatorship has the ability to either open or close emigration depending on its international policy objectives and the risks of this tactic to regime survival. The Biden administration gave signs of a potential relaxation before the protests of July 11, 2021. The Cuban government is currently using thousands of Cubans fleeing the island via flights to Nicaragua and other Central American countries to create a crisis and provoke US policy concessions towards the dictatorship. Part of these measures to pressure the Biden administration includes the Castro regime, since October 1, 2021, not accepting Cuban deportees from the United States..

  2. Cubans flee Cuba due to increasing repression, extrajudicial executions, police violence against citizens and summary trials that send hundreds of young people and adolescents into maximum security prisons. Cubans are not fleeing Cuba as a result of Washington policies or any other international power. The fundamental problem in Cuba continues to be the confrontation between Cubans, that could be seen in its true dimension during the July 2021 protests, and the Castro dictatorship that has been repressing their fundamental freedoms for 63 years.

  3. Cubans flee due to Havana’s internal blockade, which prevents individual development and economic self-sufficiency because the military controls the economy, allowing for limited economic self-management based on political loyalty and generally suppressing independent activity.

The Center for a Free Cuba believes that Washington, in order to reduce massive immigration from Cuba, should demand: 1) the unconditional release of all political prisoners, respect for fundamental human rights, an end to torture & cruel, inhuman & degrading treatment, 2) lifting of the internal blockade to which Cubans are subjected by the dictatorship. One example: Military conglomerate GAESA price gouges citizens by selling them imported products at exorbitant prices, obtaining all the profit for regime oligarchs.

“No immigration talks with Havana, manipulated by weaponizing Cuban refugees as leverage, can succeed for the Cuban people or the interests of the United States, while hundreds of Cubans are being sentenced in summary trials to long and unjust sentences for exercising their right to express their desire for a free Cuba,” said John Suárez, Executive Director of the Center for a Free Cuba.