Originally taken from: ELMAÑANA
Cuba faces what experts consider its largest migration exodus in the last 50 years, with significant consequences affecting Mexico.
In the last two years, official U.S. figures reveal that 464,197 Cubans were detained by immigration authorities between 2021 and 2023, with the majority transiting through Mexico. Additionally, Mexican authorities detained 72,879 Cubans in the same period.
An analysis by the civil organization Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) warns that this exodus represents more than 4% of the Cuban population, surpassing even the Mariel exodus in 1980 and the rafters’ crisis in 1994 combined. Despite the tightening of the admission policy for Cubans in the United States, many of them stay in Mexico, waiting for asylum application appointments or as a second final destination.
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Nearly 56,000 Cubans out of the 72,000 detained in Mexico received “visitor cards for humanitarian reasons,” allowing them to stay in the country, move freely, and obtain employment for up to one year.
Cubans applying for asylum in Mexico totaled 43,843 in three years, and only 2,746 were recognized as refugees. Furthermore, under the “Grandchildren Law,” another 100,000 Cubans could be added to the exodus by becoming naturalized Spanish citizens and leaving the island.
WOLA points out that, according to Cuban government figures, the country lost about 9% of its medical professionals between 2021 and 2022, severely affecting the health system’s capacity and causing shortages of teachers in schools. This recent exodus, according to WOLA, reflects the failure of reforms in Cuba to improve living conditions and the lack of political will in the United States to reconsider policies that exacerbate the island’s economic difficulties.
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