The Cubans are Still Fleeing

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Commentary

by Daniel Nardini

Despite full diplomatic relations having been reestablished between the United States and Cuba, Cubans are still fleeing Cuba in droves. With the Cuban government up-ending the state sector, it means that many Cubans who are having trouble trying to make ends meet are now having it even harder making ends meet. Add to this the fact that the Cuban government is now putting more dissidents in prison, and you have a growing refugee crisis. This year alone an estimated 83,000 Cubans have fled the island. The year before it was 70,000, and the year before that was 54,000. This increase is due to the fear that the U.S. government may be more reluctant to take in Cubans than previously. When U.S. President Barack Obama reestablished full diplomatic relations with Cuba, he did not allay many Cubans’ fear that he would not work to try and put human rights as a primary issue.

Just as equally feared, many Cubans are afraid that the Cuban Adjustment Act will be annulled. While this will take an act of the U.S. Congress to do (which it is not likely), the fear that President Obama can singularly override the Cuban Adjustment Act has many Cuban dissidents concerned. A number of Central American countries, like Costa Rica and Nicaragua, are reinforcing their borders to make sure that Cuban refugees do not pass through their countries (Nicaragua especially because it has a revolutionary socialist government allied with Cuba, Costa Rica does not want any bad relations with Cuba). There is no doubt that the Communist Party of Cuba is pressuring other countries in Latin America and the Caribbean to not accept Cuban refugees or to allow them to go on to the United States. Since the Cuban government has good relations with Venezuela, Bolivia, Nicaragua and Ecuador, it has some leverage.

But there is a greater fundamental taking place in Cuba that explains why so many people are still leaving. The Cuban government is definitely following the Chinese model of capitalist enterprise and allowing people to create their own businesses and replace the former “socialist” state controlled infrastructure. However, like China, the Communist Party of Cuba is making it crystal clear that it will remain in charge in all facets of life and control the entire political process. Because of this the Party will not be held accountable for its actions, free and fair elections cannot take place, and people who express their grievances over corruption, economic and social inequality will be not only shut out of the process but even arrested, imprisoned and executed. No wonder so many Cubans are still fleeing Cuba. With most if not all of these refugees coming to the United States, this is a major concern for America and Americans too.

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