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#Blockade against #Cuba and policies to encourage illegal migration: root causes of irregular migration flow of Cubans to #US.

SWITZERLAND, 11 and 12 October 2016.-  Statement by the representative of Cuba, Mr. Ulises Arranz Fernández, Deputy Director of Consular Affairs and Cuban Residents Abroad, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cuba, in the Second Intersessional Workshop of the International Dialogue on Migration, 2016, on “Assessing Progress in the Implementation of the Migration Related SDGs”.


Allow me first to express the gratitude of the government of the Republic of Cuba, for the invitation extended by IOM to participate in the "International Dialogue on Migration 2016". We positively value the efforts being made by this Organization to give continuity to these debates.

The issue of migration is particularly important today. Testimony of this is the space it occupies within the content of the Sustainable Development Goals, adopted on September 2015, which outline the path to be followed by national policies and international cooperation activities in the next 15 years.

Underdevelopment, wars, climate change, poverty and social exclusion, as result of centuries of colonial exploitation, plundering of natural resources from countries of the Third World and the unfair and disadvantageous international economic order, are the structural causes of migration.

It is not correct to qualify monetary remittances as a form of development assistance to migrant-sending countries. Remittances cannot be considered public funds; they respond to the right of every human being to attend individually the livelihood and welfare of other persons.

The Official Development Assistance and other alternative sources of resource mobilization for poverty eradication are essential instruments for the control of migration flows.

Everyone has the right to enjoy a social and international order in which all rights and freedoms can be fully realized. We are concerned about the increasing application of restrictive and discriminatory policies against low-skilled migrants and their families, while incentives for migration of highly qualified talents from developing countries are established, which becomes true brain theft, affecting the efforts of these countries in the preparation of the human capital they require.

Violations of human and labor rights of migrant workers and their families must end.  International commitments made by States in this regard, particularly on the ILO Conventions, must be fulfilled.

Migrant smuggling is a serious transnational crime which has been boosted in recent decades. This offense is strongly associated with criminal organizations, which often are also engaged in drug trafficking, arms smuggling and trafficking of persons. Paradoxically, many developed countries have fought irregular migration, criminalizing the migrants, building walls and feeding racism and xenophobia.

The phenomenon of trafficking of migrants should be addressed in a comprehensive and balanced manner, guaranteeing the right of migrants, while preserving the right of sovereign countries to enforce their immigration policies. International cooperation is needed to combat crimes related to trafficking and international trafficking of persons. In this regard, concrete steps in the establishment of international, regional and bilateral agreements should be taken.

Cuba has signed more than 35 agreements with other countries on mutual legal assistance in criminal matters, 21 agreements on transfer of sanctioned and 11 extradition agreements.

My government is fully committed to preventing and combating trafficking of migrants and encourages a regular, orderly and safe migration. Proof of this has been the ratification, in 2013, of the Palermo Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air, which complements the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC); the approval in the, in September 2013, of the Cuban report to the Human Rights Council Universal Periodic Review, a process where our commitment in the fight against trafficking was evidenced; and the implementation, also in 2013, of  amendments to the Cuban Migration Law, which provides all the facilities for Cuban citizens to travel abroad.


The root causes of irregular migration flow of Cuban citizens to the United States are the combination, firstly, of a genocidal economic, financial and commercial blockade imposed by the government of that country to Cuba, which has caused loses to our economy for more than a billion of US dollars; and secondly, with a policy of encouraging illegal migration, based on the Cuban Adjustment Act, the policy of “dry feet - wet feet” and the PAROLE program for health professionals from Cuba.

That situation has not changed despite the restoration of diplomatic relations with the US government.  The migratory treatment given by the US Government to Cubans constitutes a violation of the letter and spirit of the migration agreements in force between Cuba and the United States.

To solve the irregular migratory flow of Cuban citizens in Central America, which are only 2% of all migrants using that corridor to reach the United States, it is an imperative to change that US migration policy which, by granting exclusive privileges to Cuban migrants, encourages them to be involved into an adventure at the risk of their own lives.

We reiterate our willingness to receive all Cuban migrants who left Cuba legally, are in route to the United States irregularly, and who wish to return to their country; as well as to continue working to achieve a regular, safe and orderly migration.

Finally, I wish to thank you again for allowing us to be in this important dialogue and express our positions on migration issues.

Thank you very much.

(Cubavsbloqueo-EmbaCuba Ginebra)

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