On that occasion, Cuban parliamentarians noted how this immoral and discriminatory immigration policy, implemented against Cuba immediately after the triumph of the Revolution, and expressed in the Cuban Adjustment Act, is a perverse one, deliberately conceived to destabilize and undermine Cuban society, and cynically calculated to provoke death and suffering through a shameless manipulation of the tragedies caused by this legislation.
The act, adopted in 1966, had above all, a pro-Batista nature. Its text explicitly stresses that it was passed to benefit those individuals who left Cuba on January 1, 1959, and excludes a large number of Cubans who had immigrated to the United States before or during the dictatorship. For that reason, the Adjustment Act is essentially discriminatory in content. The Cubans who arrived in the United States at that point or immediately afterward, in the early 1960s, did not do so in primitive and fragile vessels but aboard luxury yachts, private aircraft or regular flights, the latter continuing until their prohibition by U.S. authorities at the end of 1962, as part of the economic war on the country.
The legislation is to remain in force indefinitely. Given the severing of diplomatic relations and the suspension of visas, which made any normal travel between the two countries impossible, its sole intention was to stimulate illegal emigration with the maritime risks which this would involve.
Those people who did attempt to illegally cross the Florida Straits over many years could count on the active cooperation of U.S. authorities and Coast Guard services, which systematically and routinely picked up persons in the vicinity of Cuban waters and transported them to U.S. territory. Those who were not fortunate enough to encounter U.S. naval units en route often lost their lives. Many more have been cynically utilized for anti-Cuba propaganda, into which the empire has channeled billions of dollars over the last 40 years.
In a colossal operation of falsifying facts and promoting lies, Cubans illegally leaving the island have been presented as people wanting to "escape" to the United States, and that country as the "generous" nation which takes them in. Neither contains an iota of truth. Official U.S. statistics confirm this.
Despite the fact that for more than 40 years this special policy in this context has existed only for Cubans – as expressed in the Adjustment Act and promoted by the media – in order to provoke illegal exits from the country, and the imposition – solely against Cuba – of a genocidal economic war which in itself creates conditions prompting emigration, Cuba is not among the principal source countries of this phenomenon. There are a number of countries in South America with smaller populations whose emigration figures are much higher than that of Cuba. If the number of undocumented persons in the United States could be accurately estimated, the contrast would be even more notable, given that countless millions of Latin Americans live there without legal status while, because of this perverse piece of legislation, no Cuban who has managed to reach that territory is considered illegal.
During these 45 years and in increasing numbers through today, countless potential immigrants of other nationalities have also attempted to reach U.S. coasts from more distant countries, without the protection and aid of the Coast Guard and, if they are found by these agents, they are invariably returned to their origins. Being forced to evade discovery, these emigrants have run greater risks and suffered greater losses. Those who have managed to enter the United States have joined the millions of undocumented persons subject to constant persecution by that country’s Immigration and Naturalization Service.
The United States has criminally incited Cubans to risk their lives in dangerous sea crossings with the sole, repugnant objective of slandering Cuba and grossly distorting its image. For those prepared to risk their own lives and those of others, including children, women and the elderly, the doors are open without any requisites whatsoever. In that way thousands of individuals who have been or would be denied visas, many with serious criminal records, have been admitted. This has also resulted in a flourishing human contraband business, also related to drug trafficking, against which no effective measures have been taken.
There are many Cubans, or descendants of Cubans who, after the experience of living in that corrupt, violent, racist and profoundly unjust society and having personally experienced exploitation and discrimination, sadly yearn for the homeland which they abandoned.
In 1994 and 1995 Washington and Cuba signed two migratory agreements in the context of which U.S. authorities committed to discontinue this irresponsible policy and to channel emigration from Cuba only through safe and orderly legal procedures. These agreements have benefited a considerable number of people who wished to leave to do so in an appropriate way. But it has not resulted in any normalization because its implementation is marred by the never abandoned intention of utilizing the issue of emigration as part of the arsenal against the Cuban Revolution. In practice, regulations concerning the "wet foot-dry foot" policy (allowing Cubans who set foot on U.S. territory the right to remain) , as part of the Adjustment Act, constitute a violation of these agreements, as does the constant incitement to illegal emigration from radio broadcasts transmitted to Cuba from the United States, including some with official sponsorship.
The United States must put an end to this criminal, irresponsible and demagogic policy related to Cuban citizens but one which is also prejudicial to Latin Americans and damaging to the interests of U.S. citizens themselves. The Cuban Adjustment Act must be repealed.
If the United States is disposed to grant legal residence to any Cuban entering its territory, as it effectively does in the case of those unnecessarily risking their lives to do so, it should grant visas to everyone wishing to emigrate, without asking for any documentation or requirements, as is the case with illegal émigrés who ignore its laws and ours.