As usual in Cuba for six decades, the old dispute with the United States continues to be the main axis of its foreign policy and occupying the first headlines. On this occasion, Havana’s complaints against Washington have been for trying to “exclude” the island from the IX Summit of the Americas, convened next June by US President Joe Biden. The lime came accompanied by sand, when Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez considered the recent high-level meeting between the two countries to address migration issues as a “positive step,” as well as the announcement of the limited reopening of the activities of the Cuban Consulate. USA in Havana. According to Rodríguez, Cuba loses 12 million dollars daily because of the US embargo.
Officials from Cuba and the United States held last Thursday in Washington the highest level meeting since Joe Biden arrived at the White House. On the Cuban side, the interlocutor was Deputy Minister Carlos Fernández de Cossío, while the North American delegation was led by Emily Mendrala, Assistant Undersecretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs. The issue in question was migration, at a time when Havana accuses the United States of breaching the agreements in force between the two countries and when tens of thousands of Cubans are entering North American territory en masse from Mexico — more than 78,000 have arrived through this border. in the last six months—an exodus that already doubles that of the rafters crisiswhen 35,000 Cubans jumped into the sea in flimsy boats during the summer of 1994.
The two governments then agreed that the United States would guarantee the granting of a minimum of 20,000 emigrant visas per year to Cuban citizens, and established regular migratory talks to guarantee safe and orderly emigration. These meetings were suspended in 2018 by the Donald Trump administration, which ended the policy of thawing and normalization with Cuba proposed by his predecessor, Barack Obama.
Both governments participated in last Monday’s meeting in Washington, something that is not insignificant given the current tensions. “Participating in these talks underscores our commitment to engage in constructive talks with the Government of Cuba when appropriate to advance United States interests,” the Biden administration said in a statement after the meeting. In it, she also acknowledged that there are “areas of successful cooperation on migration” between the two countries and assured that both delegations had identified “problems that have been obstacles to meeting the objectives of the agreements.”
The Cuban foreign minister also positively valued the talks, but denounced that Washington has been failing to comply with the agreement to grant 20,000 visas for years, while “it continues to encourage illegal emigration” by maintaining laws in force that privilege Cuban emigrants even if they enter US territory illegally. That, plus the maintenance of the sanctions policy, is inconsistent with what was agreed, said the minister, valuing at 12 million dollars a day, what the intensified embargo costs his country.
Rodríguez’s lime against the United States was above all for excluding him from the preparations for the ninth Summit of the Americas, and for “carrying out intense efforts to exert pressure” on other countries and achieving the objective that the island not be invited to the meeting, which will take place in June in the city of Los Angeles.
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“The United States Government deceives public opinion and the governments of the hemisphere by saying that it has not yet decided on the invitations,” he said, asking the US Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, to say clearly whether Cuba will be invited or excluded. of the Summit, and whether other countries will be excluded.
Rodríguez lamented that in fact the island “has already been excluded from the preparations and the working groups of the summit”, opining that its marginalization from a plan focused on health and resilience for the continent “is somewhat shameful, given the contribution Cuba to the promotion of health for its population and the region”. The United States, he said, resorts to “all kinds of resources and lies” so that Cuba and its people do not exercise “their right” to be at these summits “on equal terms with the rest of the countries in the region.”
The Cuban foreign minister stated that it would be “surprising” if Joe Biden departed from the policy that he himself defended when he was vice president of Barak Obama, and finally did not invite Cuba to the ninth Summit of the Americas. The island has participated in the last two editions of the presidential meeting, the first in 2015, in Panama City, where the historic first meeting between Obama and the then Cuban president, Raúl Castro, took place, and in April 2018, in Lima. , at the invitation of Donald Trump himself.
According to the Cuban foreign minister, “the host country of the Summit of the Americas has no right to impose arbitrary exclusions.” “This is a politically motivated decision with no other support than false accusations and double standards to hide its true nature, linked to the internal and electoral politics of the United States,” he stated, concluding that the exclusion of Cuba from the next Summit of the Americas would constitute a serious historical setback in relation to previous summits.
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