Cuba responds to cancellation of migration talks with US

Campaign News | Sunday, 5 January 2003



New pretexts from Washington to aggravate tensions with Cuba

On Monday, January 5, 2004, officials at the U.S. Interests Section in Havana and the U.S. State Department communicated to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Cuban Interests Section in Washington, respectively, that they considered another round of migratory talks as out of the question, “until the Cuban authorities demonstrate a genuine interest in seriously approaching aspects that are ‘highly significant’ in terms of achieving an ordered, legal and safe migratory flow between the two countries.”

Of course, these “highly significant” aspects are none other than some of the subjects that have traditionally made up the agenda of the U.S. delegation at the migratory talks, subjects that bear absolutely no relation to the functioning of the Migratory Agreements and that, moreover, have been widely discussed on many occasions in talks over the last few years.

Obviously, in the imperial language of U.S. officials, “seriously approach” means that Cuba should be prepared to make all the unilateral concessions that they want and accede to all the demands and caprices of the U.S. authorities.

This is no more and no less than a new and totally unsustainable pretext aimed at aggravating tensions between the two countries and hindering the principal review mechanism to ensure that the Migratory Agreements are met.

In particular, the Ministry underlines the fact that the United States has decided to cancel its migratory talks with Cuba precisely at a point when it is making enormous political and financial efforts to control its borders and eliminate illegal emigration to that country.

In both Washington and Havana, U.S. officials were capable of cynically adding that the U.S. government will continue complying with the Migratory Agreements.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs considers it necessary to inform our people and world public opinion of this new maneuver by the U.S. government, aimed at negatively affecting the functioning of the Migratory Agreements signed between Cuba and the United States and the attaining of a normal migratory relation between the two countries.

Without any doubt, this action constitutes a tribute being paid by the Bush administration under pressure from the Miami terrorist mafia who, not content with what the present U.S. government has done against Cuba to date, are taking advantage of the U.S. electoral context to revert by all means – including the crudest political blackmail – its strategic defeat and political and moral discredit.

This decision compounds the extensive list of aggressions, plots and statements executed by the U.S. government in recent months.

Through the relevant diplomatic channels the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has expressed its condemnation of this irresponsible action that does not benefit the real national interests of the United States, but merely attempts to assuage the craving for revenge and hatred on the part of a tiny groups of ultra-reactionary individuals interested in stimulating a U.S. policy of aggression and hostility toward Cuba and putting paid to the Migratory Agreements.

The pretexts given for not wishing to go ahead with the migratory talks could not be more unreal or absurd, and demonstrate that the real meaning of this action has more to do with Miami politicking than with genuine national interests of security and immigration.

In addition to posing the core problems affecting the strict fulfillment of these agreements in every round of talks, Cuba has never refused to discuss and analyze any of the subjects referred to by the U.S. authorities. All of them, without exception, have been part of the traditional agenda of the U.S. delegations to the rounds of migratory talks and there has always been a wide-ranging and profound debate on each of the subjects mentioned. Cuba has expressed its arguments in a serious and responsible way, in the spirit of explaining down to the most minor detail each of the aspects brought up by the U.S. officials.

Cuba ratifies that it has been and is prepared to seriously discuss, in the depth and time required, all the subjects mentioned by the U.S. authorities.

The United States is trying to manipulate the reality and cover up what Cuba has exposed on innumerable occasions: that the murderous Cuban Adjustment Act and the irrational “wetfoot-dryfoot” policy are the real obstacles to the normalization of the migratory flow between the two countries, the real incitements to illegal emigration and the largest violation of the Migratory Agreements.

With this decision the U.S. government is trying to divert attention from important aspects within the migratory relations between the two countries and matters that constitute violations of the Migratory Agreements. These aspects include the dramatic reduction of visas for Cuban citizens wishing to visit relatives in the United States; the non-return to Cuba of some of the illegal emigrants intercepted at sea; the incitement to illegal emigration and the commission of acts of violence in order to emigrate broadcast from radio stations located in the United States; and the absence of decisive action against the traffickers of illegal emigrants, among others.

The U.S. delegation to the rounds of migratory talks has always been loath to accept its responsibility in these aspects of non-compliance which certainly are key and of vital importance for the migratory relations between the two countries, and not because Cuba has conditioned or refused participation in these rounds.

The fallacy and absurdity of this decision are all the more notorious on recalling that the U.S. authorities have rejected – without giving the most minimal explanation or even showing the slightest interest in discussing it – the proposal for a new bilateral agreement on migratory affairs that was put forward by Cuba in September 2000 and reiterated on five occasions. Cuban proposals to establish agreements in relation to combating drug trafficking and terrorism have met with similar scorn.

We demand of the U.S. government that it set aside the absurd and empty pretexts that only seek to satisfy narrow anti-Cuban interests and acts in line with the real interests of the U.S. people.

The U.S. government bears the sole responsibility for the cancellation of this round of migratory talks.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs reaffirms the unequivocal will of the government of Cuba to continue honoring, as it has done to date, the spirit and the letter of the Migratory Agreements signed by Cuba and the United States and urges the government of the United States to assume a similar attitude.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Havana, January 5, 2004

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