|U.S. Interest Section in Havana|
By Latin American Herald Tribune, November 2, 2011
HAVANA – The United States must end a “demagogic” policy that encourages Cubans to emigrate illegally in hopes of reaching U.S. soil, the newspaper of Cuba’s ruling Communist Party said Tuesday.
Washington must end the 1966 Cuban Adjustment Act, Granma said in an editorial.
That law and the accompanying policy known as “wet foot, dry foot” says that Cubans who manage to set foot on United States soil can remain and apply for permanent residence.
The newspaper accuses the U.S. of having promoted the clandestine emigration that risks Cuban lives and promotes “the despicable business of human trafficking.”
“If the United States is ready to grant legal residency to any Cuban who enters its territory...it should give a visa to all who wish to emigrate in a normal, legal way without asking for documentation or imposing any other requirement, as it does for those who flout its laws and ours,” Granma said.
He said that application of the migration accords signed by Washington and Havana in 1994 and 1995 “have been undermined by the intention, never abandoned, of using emigration as part of its arsenal against the Cuban Revolution.”
Those accords state that Cuban immigrants intercepted at sea must be returned to the island.
It also included a commitment by Washington to admit 20,000 Cubans a year as legal immigrants.
The United States and Cuba have not had diplomatic relations for almost half a century, from the time Washington imposed an economic embargo on the island in February 1962. Fifteen years later, however, the two governments established interests sections in their respective capitals.
Granma also said that Cuba is not among the region’s main sources of migrants to the United States, referring to the millions of undocumented Latin American emigrants whose “tragedy is ignored.”
President Raul Castro told Cuba’s parliament in August that his government will work toward “easing” emigration policy, suggesting a possible end to the requirement that Cubans wishing to travel aboard obtain an exit permit.