Cuba criticizes the US before a new round of immigration talks

Cuba criticizes the US before a new round of immigration talks

Cuba said that it will insist that the United States relax sanctions against the island and end the preferential treatment of Cubans who enter its territory through irregular means in a new round of immigration dialogue high-level event that begins Tuesday in Washington.

The biannual meetings between the countries resumed in 2022 after having been canceled during the presidency of Donald Trump and amid a record increase of around half a million Cubans who arrived in the United States starting in 2021, according to authorities in that country.

“The blockade (embargo) and the additional measures of siege and maximum pressure of the governments of (Donald) Trump and (Joe) Biden constitute the issue that weighs the most in the bilateral migration scenario,” said Johana Tablada, deputy director of the United States, on Monday. United States of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cuba.

Tablada said in a press conference that the impact of Washington's immigration policy towards Havana “constitutes the main incentive that explains the unprecedented increase in the largest migratory wave of Cubans in recent times.”

Cuba is mired in a deep economic crisis characterized by shortages of basic products, including food and medicine, in addition to growing inflation.

The stated goal of the talks is to promote safe, legal and orderly migration, both countries say.

Havana has long blamed U.S. sanctions for stifling the local economy and has criticized the Cuban Adjustment Act of 1966, which grants special entry rights to Cubans to legally reside in the neighboring country.

Meanwhile, Washington, the main destination for Cuban migrants, says that Cuba's lack of civil liberties and human rights have combined with a fragile state-dominated economy to force its citizens to emigrate.

The U.S. government has increased legal immigration pathways for Cubans, including access to immigrant visas in Havana, family reunification, and humanitarian parole programs. However, it has not yet resumed programs for granting nonimmigrant or tourist visas.

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