News agencies have reported that the number of Cubans arriving in Mexico, both legally and illegally, with the intent to continue migration to the United States has increased since the first of the year.
The Miami Herald posted an article, “Mexico Detains Growing Number of Cubans,” in which it addressed Mexico’s problems with an increased number of Cubans. Then, Latino Fox News, with cooperation by the Associated Press, in, “Soaring Number Of Cubans Are Entering The United States Through Mexican Border” addressed the same issue from the United States perspective.
The Miami Herald article starts off with this statement: “The number of undocumented Cubans intercepted in Mexico on their way to the U.S. border has more than doubled in the eight months since Havana eased its migration controls, according to Mexican government figures.”
“Interdictions in Mexico of undocumented Cubans totaled 2,300 from January to August of this year, compared to 994 in the same period in 2012, according to the Interior Ministry.”
An acquaintance I have who lives in Cuba told me three years ago that he and his friends were trying to obtain visas to Mexico for exactly that reason. But I haven’t heard the governments acknowledge it prior to now.
Some blame the increase in part on Cuba’s new leniency, which now permits Cubans to travel to other countries to visit, if they can obtain a visa from the other country. The article says, “Legal air arrivals to Mexico by Cubans with tourist or migrant visas also rose from 30,750 in the first eight months of 2012 to 33,017 in the same period this year, according to Mexican government figures.”
When the Cuban government eased restrictions on travel, as of January, 2013, those “changes eliminated the need for Cuban government exit permits, allowed more minors to travel abroad and extended from 11 to 24 months the time that Cubans can stay outside their country without losing their residency and benefits such as free healthcare.”
“Cubans who arrive in the United States can now obtain permanent U.S. residency after 366 days under the Cuban Adjustment Act and then return to the island to retain their residency there. They can then travel at will between the two countries.”
“Thousands of Cubans arrive each year via the Mexico-U.S. border because it is the easiest way of obtaining entry under Washington’s “wet-foot, dry-foot” policy. Those who set foot on U.S. territory get to stay, but most of those interdicted at sea are returned.”
However there is an agreement between Mexico and Cuba, which has not been changed, that requires the return to Cuba of any Cuban citizen found in Mexico without documentation to travel, and who remains a legal resident of Cuba.
Cubans are paying large bribes to Mexican authorities to avoid being returned.
The Latino Fox article concentrates on the intent of the Cubans in Mexico to find their way to the U.S.
It says, “The easing by the Cuban government of restrictions on traveling abroad has led to a rise in the number of Cubans who try to enter the United States through the Mexican border.”
The changes in the Cuban financial system, the new ability to buy and sell houses and cars, and the easing of travel restrictions, do not seem to have improved every day Cuban life very much. But now Cubans wanting to leave have another viable option instead of taking a dangerous raft ride to the U.S. directly.
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