Why the Cuban Adjustment Act is Still Needed

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Commentary

by Daniel Nardini

Nine foreign ministers in Central and South America sent a letter to U.S. President Barack Obama stating that the Cuban Adjustmen Act should be rescinded and that all Cubans should be “sent back” to Cuba because they are trying to cross their countries “illegally.” The nine countries that want to end the Cuban Adjustment Act are Panama, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Ecuador, Peru and Colombia. Cubans are trying to escape Cuba any way they can, and they are going through Central America for the most part on their way to the United States. I find it ironic that countries like Mexico, Guatemala and El Salvador would complain about the Cubans when their own nationals have tried to flee from these countries. I would have hoped that they would be sympathetic to others trying to flee repression.

The Cuban Adjustment Act is not the real reason they are fleeing Cuba for a better life in the United States. Repression is the reason they are fleeing Cuba for a better life in the United States. Even without the Cuban Adjustment Act, nothing would change. Whenever I hear complaints about the Cubans being “illegally” in their countries, I think that these governments should not be throwing rocks at glass houses. Sadly, these governments are now expelling large numbers of Cubans from their lands. Doesn’t this then justify the U.S. government expelling any and all Salvadorans, Guatemalans and Mexicans from the United States? In my view, a person who is trying to escape poverty and repression is still a human being. This includes the Cubans.

If these nine Latin American governments need a reasons why the Cuban Adjustment Act is still needed, look no further than the recent case of Daniel Llorente. This was witnessed by tourists as well as recorded by iphone in Havana, Cuba. As an American cruise ship was getting ready to dock in Havana’s harbor, a Cuban named Daniel Llorente was waving an American flag on his back and giving a lecture on liberty. He was immediately surrounded by a crowd and then taken away by Cuban police. What his fate will be is unknown, but it is not likely to be good. In the United States, his actions would be completely legal and protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Such freedom does not exist in Cuba, and under the Communist Party of Cuba never will. This is what all those Cubans fleeing Cuba must face every day—political and social repression for expressing a single idea. This is why the Cuban Adjustment Act was passed, and until repression in Cuba ceases this is why this Act must remain.

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