Cuba: total deliverance of American immigration visas resumes at Havana Embassy

This recovery is done in a context of record exodus to the United States but without the normalization of relations between Washington and the Communist Island is taking shape.

MO12345lemonde with AFP

struck by a serious economic crisis, Cuba is experiencing an unprecedented migratory exodus. It is in this context that the American embassy in Havana takes up, Wednesday, January 4, the total deliverance of visas for Cubans wishing to settle in the United States.

“The United States endeavors to ensure safe, legal and orderly emigration for Cubans by extending its consular services to Havana and taking up [the procedures] of family reunification,” said the representation on Friday American diplomatic, in a press release confirming the resumption on January 4.

The embassy announced in March the reopening of its consulate, closed since 2017 due to supposed health incidents that have affected diplomats. Several high-level meetings on the migratory issue followed, first in Washington and then in Havana, with the objective of reactivating the migratory agreements between the two countries interrupted under the government of Donald Trump (2017-2021) .

obstacle course

In May, the consulate thus “limited” the issuance of visas “limited” for Cubans wishing to emigrate, then the embassy announced a total recovery of procedures, except tourism visa, for January 2023.

“We have made very discreet advances aimed at putting bilateral cooperation on the path of the execution of migratory agreements”, recognized in mid-December the Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel.

Since 2017, Cubans wishing to obtain a visa for the United States have faced a real obstacle race, with the obligation to make their request, at their expense, in a third country – in general Guyana, in South America.

Number of Cubans have benefited since the end of 2021 from the visa exemption in Nicaragua, an ally of Havana, to try to reach the United States across Central America. Some 326,336 Cubans, or 2.9 % of the island’s population (11.2 million inhabitants), thus illegally entered the United States over twelve months (until the beginning of December 2022), according to the authorities American. The illegal emigration by the sea has also skyrocketed in recent months.

Biden’s speech hardened

The Cuban government acknowledged that Washington had granted in 2022, for the first time since 2017, more than 20,000 visas to Cubans wishing to settle in the United States, as planned by agreements dating from 1994. But, Even if Washington “does not want to recognize it, there is a direct link between the resurgence of extreme measures against the Cuban economy and the dramatic migratory flow that exploded,” insisted in November with the France-Presse Johana Tablada agency , High-functionary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

test your general culture with the writing of the “world” Discover

if certain sanctions taken under the mandate De Donald Trump have been relaxed by his successor Joe Biden, the Democrat is currently careful not to take over the reconciliation policy initiated by Barack Obama (2009-2017). Upon his arrival at the White House in 2021, Mr. Biden had promised to review American policy towards Cuba, but his speech hardened following anti-government demonstrations on the island in July 2021.

In December, the American president once again called for the release of “hundreds of political prisoners” arrested during demonstrations. Washington also maintained Cuba on the list of countries supporting terrorism and has recently included it in another list of countries waiting for religious freedom. The standardization of relations between the two countries is therefore not on the agenda.

/Media reports cited above.