Editorial from Granma International, Cuba
Havana. October 17, 2012
In the case of Cuba, the issue of travel and migration has historically been the object of forceful media campaigns designed and directed by the United States government and other forces in that country who have opposed the Revolution since its very beginning. The issue has been purposefully manipulated in an attempt to create confusion in public opinion internationally and among our people. There have been more than a few victims of this effort, including mortal ones, and dramatic situations have been generated as a result of the politicization of this sensitive question by enemies of Cuba.
It is therefore obligatory that any analysis of Cuban travel and migration issues address the hostile policy toward our country which the U.S. government has maintained for more than 50 years. The imposition of an illegal and genocidal economic blockade, attempts to construct an internal opposition through subversive activity and the employment of salaried agents have been the essential components of this policy. Media campaigns and the theft of brain power are part of this policy, as well as terrorist attacks, sabotage and aggression of all kinds.
Cuba's travel and migration policy, throughout the entire period the Revolution has been in power, has been based on the recognition of the right of citizens to travel, to emigrate or live abroad, and the desire to maintain good relations between the country and the émigré community. At the same time, the country has asserted its legitimate right to defend itself from U.S. aggression. Regulations governing travel from the country were adopted in the context of circumstances created by the hostile position on this issue assumed by various U.S. administrations, encouraged by their allies in Miami.
As President Raúl Castro said during the closing of the 8th Ordinary Session of the National Assembly of People's Power, December 23, 2011, "We cannot forget that we are the only country on the planet whose citizens are permitted to settle and work in U.S. territory without any visa whatsoever… as a result of the Cuban Readjustment Act… and the `wet foot, dry foot' policy which promotes trafficking in persons and has led to the deaths of many innocent people."
Since the very beginning of the Revolution, our country has been victimized by the indiscriminate plunder of our professionals. More than half of the 6,000 doctors in the country at that time emigrated, principally to the United States. Additionally, later on, a program of visas for professionals was implemented by the U.S. government, with similar objectives.
This is the reason that, as long as policies which promote the `brain drain' meant to deprive us of the human resources we need for the country's economic, social and scientific development, Cuba is obligated to maintain regulations to defend itself on this front.
The double standard, and inhumane nature of the U.S. policy, which encourages illegal emigration on the one hand and, on the other, creates obstacles for those who wish to emigrate in a legal, well-ordered and safe manner, is clearly intended to turn Cubans, who wish to settle in other countries, into political opponents and foment internal destabilization.
As a consequence of this irrational and irresponsible policy, over the past 50 years several migratory crises have been generated: Camarioca in 1965, Mariel in 1980, and the `rafters' crisis of 1994.
Despite all of this, Cuba has consistently maintained its willingness to cooperate in the search for reasonable solutions to this complex problem and has continually worked for the normalization of relations with émigrés and a well-ordered, safe emigration process, as well as attempting to facilitate travel abroad by Cuban citizens for private reasons.
The new migratory regulations announced, adopted on the basis of a sovereign decision by the Cuban state, do not constitute an isolated act, but are rather an important component of the irreversible process underway to normalize relations with the country's émigré community.
The great majority of Cubans resident in 150 other countries maintain stable ties with their homeland and families; they oppose the blockade and do not support the implementation of an aggressive policy toward their native country.
President Raúl Castro Ruz said in his farewell to Pope Benedict 16th, this past March 28, "We recognize the patriotic contributions of the Cuban émigré community, from the decisive support to our independence struggle provided by cigar workers in Tampa and Key West and all of those who sustained the hopes and dreams of José Martí, to those who today oppose attacks on Cuba and the manipulation of the migration issue for political ends. We have made a prolonged effort to achieve the full normalization of relations between Cuba and its émigrés, who love their homeland and families. We will persist in this effort, given the common will of our nation."
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