Over 13,000 Cubans Request Repatriation to Cuba from the US

October 28, 2016 |

In the Last Two Years

By Daniel Benitez   (Café Fuerte)

The Cuban embassy building in Washington D.C. Foto: tvcamaguey.icrt.cu

The Cuban embassy building in Washington D.C. Foto: tvcamaguey.icrt.cu

HAVANA TIMES — While hundreds of thousands have abandoned Cuba in the last decade, over 13,000 Cuban residents in the United States have requested to be repatriated on the island in the last two years, according to official statistics.

The figures were provided by the Cuban Ambassador to the US, Jose Ramon Cabanas, in an interview published on the Cubadebate website.  They are the first figures that have been given about an increasing number of petitions since both governments decided to reestablish relations in December 2014.

The statistics only reflect the number of people who have done this consular red-tape in Washington DC and don’t include those who are currently in the process of being repatriated and are still awaiting approval.

Increase in consular services

Last year, statistics from the Cuban Immigration and Foreign Affairs Department revealed that 9,400 people who had emigrated before the Cuban migration policy reform was implemented in January 2013, returned to Cuba with the objective to settle down in the country permanently. Out of these, 5,000 left and went abroad again.

During the 3rd meeting with Cuban residents in the United States, which took place in Washington last Saturday, the Ambassador explained that up until October 24th this year, they had provided 122,000 consular services more than they had in all of 2015.

Cabanas said that over 250,000 Cubans travel to the island to visit each year and he asked these Cubans to “tell the truth about how the country is changing and making progress.”

With regard to the opening of Cuban consulates in the US, the official said that there is a real need, but he said that the solution will be in the future and will stem from a bilateral agreement.

We don’t want reversion

As is fitting for a diplomatic official, the first Cuban Ambassador to the United States did not say anything about the electoral process that the US is currently experiencing with two very different rivals in terms of their views on Cuba. Hillary is determined to continue the policy that Barack Obama has initiated; Donald Trump, the Republican candidate, is giving a nod to internal opposition on the island and to extremist émigrés, as well as claiming that he would reverse the actual thawing process between the two countries.

Cabanas cautiously stated that “we have reached a point where we don’t want to go back.”

The 2013 Cuban migratory reform authorized residents abroad to request their return and permanent residency in Cuba, at the island’s diplomatic missions or with the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MININT), which has opened the way for hundreds of Cubans living abroad to return.

Unstoppable immigration

Statistics from the US Homeland Security show that almost half a million Cubans became permanent residents in the US during the period 2000-2014.

Since the announcement that relations would be reestablished between both countries in December, 2014, Cubans began a silent, but steady, exodus from the island. As well as the normal maritime rafter or speed boat route, thousands have tried to reach the Mexican/US border by embarking on a risky journey starting in Ecuador or Guyana, which has recently been the cause of at least two international crises.

Over 115,000 Cubans reached the US at border without a visa, to benefit from the Cuban Adjustment Act, since Raul Castro’s government implemented the migration policy reform three years ago. The flow of migrants by sea has also increased since then, with 7,358 Cubans taking this route in the 2016 US fiscal year.

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  • Moses Patterson

    In the not-so-very long term view, the impact of more than 13,000 Cubans being repatriated from the US back to Cuba must scare the “hibbijibbis” out of the Castros. After all, these Cubans have been infected with the incurable and highly contagious virus called freedom. In spite of the wealth and fresh capital that these Cubans would likely bring with them, the notion that these repatriated Cuba might algo fresh demands for democracy does not bode well for a dictatorship on its last legs. Nonetheless, tough to say no to the money they bring.

    • Dan

      Wealth ? Most Cubans I know are just scraping by, many carrying growing credit card debt. I have met precious few who have not found themselves in precarious financial condition in the Land of Milk and Honey. Most native – born Americans are in the same boat, why would they be any different ? So forget about returning to Cuba with capital. As far as the “contagious virus called freedom”, most are more impressed by the insecurity and arbitrariness that accompany it.

      • Moses Patterson

        You are so mistaken. Worse yet, you sound like Donald Trump. The Cubans that I know, and there are more than a handful, who are planning to repatriate, are buying homes and businesses. By the way, if credit card debt is the problem, whose fault is that? Finally, if insecurity and arbitrariedad is a problem ANYWHERE, it’s a problem in Cuba.

    • Cubakingone

      Many people from Puerto Rico joined the U.S. military and are now retiring with very good pensions Many are looking at Cuba to start their w own business.

  • Cubakingone

    Over the past few years I have met some of these Cuban – Americans that want to return to Cuba. There are two main reasons :::
    1. A modest U.S. pension goes a long way in Cuba. This is very true for those cities away from major centers.
    2. As Cuba goes toward a market economy many want to open their own businesses. They have funds and experience.

    • bjmack

      Excellent point and I would assume that a pension would go a long way indeed living in Cuba. The weather of course is grand and the scenery spectacular. Reconciling with families another strong point. Regarding starting a business, brilliant!

  • N.J. Marti

    Paper work easy and do not need to stay. No impact on US Citinzenship. The big win is right to bring a container of household goods into country during first six months of reestablishing residence rights.

  • Cubakingone

    Since 1993 I have made 92 research trips to Cuba and learned one important fact ” You can take the Cuban out of Cuba but you can never take Cuba out of the Cuba. “

  • Olgasintamales

    How about my freedom? To read whatever I want, to travel, to protest when ever I want, to associate myself with whoever I want. I rather to be homesick, but to the idea of returning to a country without humans rights I prefer stay in here USA NYC. thinking iof cuba make say this YIKES!

    • Saka Moko

      Esto se hunde. Hoy lo vas a ver.Saludos desde el UWS.

  • Jay Jardin

    Our lifetime here is rented. We pay for it every 30 days and the day we do not it is all gone. This is perfectly fine and you get used to it. However some people get sick, some get old, some no longer have the strength and they know Cuba won’t make them homeless.

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