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Regina Cano: I have lived my entire life in Havana, Cuba – the island from which I’ve still never left, and which I love. I was born on September 9, and my parents chose my name out of superstition, but my mother raised me outside the religion professed by her family. I studied accounting and finance at the University of Havana, a profession that I’m not engaged in for the time being, and that I substituted for doing crafts, some ceramics, and studying a little English and about painting. Ah! – concerning my picture: I identify with Rastafarian principles, but I am not one of them. I wear this cap from time to time, but I assure you I just didn’t have a better picture.

Has the American Dream died for the Cuban people?

January 16, 2017 |

by Regina Cano

Many young Cubans have their hopes for the future set on leaving the country. Photo: Juan Suarez

HAVANA TIMES — “No, cousin, you’ve just shattered my illusions. I was all set to go,” my cousin said disappointed.  He said this after learning on the January 12th TV news of the new agreements made between Cuban and US representatives with regard to Cuban immigration to the US.

The commonly known “wet-foot/dry-foot” policy and the Parole Program for Cuban health professionals, which Washington had applied in third countries, will be revoked,” the government newspaper Granma reported the day after.

The Cuban government is committed to “…ensuring a regular, safe and organized migration flow…” and the United States “… will return all Cuban citizens (who try) to enter and stay by illegal means within this country to Cuba…” the same newspaper added.

The news spread like wildfire and for many Cubans, mostly young Cubans, this has been an upsetting decision which they feel is a great loss, as they had the palpable chance of reaching the United States by any means that allowed them to step foot on US soil. In spite of the fact that it was at the expense of risking their own lives, it was an irrevocable guarantee that they had to emigrate from their country of birth where they aren’t able to achieve things they can anywhere else, and this will now disappear.

Emigration from Cuba to the United States has been going on for a very long time as have the Cuban people’s never-ending dreams of reuniting families or achieving some kind of progress.

It has also involved the loss of many young Cubans’ lives, plus the loss of the necessary family ties between those who are separated by these two shores.

From now on, every Cuban who is found entering the United States will be returned to Cuba and subject to the same immigration laws which apply to other immigrants coming from any country in the Americas.

On my way home, after getting a copy of Granma newspaper, I heard things like “…Now these people have got what they really want…” or “and now how will people make their American dream come true?”, as many people have been planning for years just how to throw themselves into the sea, when hurdles in their life have stopped them.

Meanwhile, I read that the United States will continue to give legal access to a “minimum of 20,000” Cubans to the US per year and listened to people who still believed that they could manage to emigrate to the United States – which some people see as inevitable- using their creativity, overriding any ban.

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  • Moses Patterson

    It is curious that there is so much disappointment. After all, if one simply reads the comments written by Castro sycophants here at the HT site, it is difficult to imagine why anyone would want to risk their lives to leave Cuba for such a disastrous place like the US. Especially with all the free health care and education. Is it possible that Cubans living in Cuba know something about their daily struggle that a Canadian who visits Cuba once a year might not realize? Ending Wet foot/Dry foot, is going to increase internal pressure. What happens after that is anyone’s guess.

    • Sky

      Moses I know you like to stir but… Here is an island nation still relatively cut off from the rest of the world, with the most blatant example of what the rest of the world has just 90miles from it. Even if Cubans were not actively trying to leave, the fact that that option was there gave some Cubans a sense of hope. They leave because while they love Cuba they do not love watching their lives and their future seep away. They leave because their families are already en el norte and they want to join them. They leave because they think that this is the only way they can help the people they love that remain at home. They leave because they were basically handed a US passport. I imagine that should anywhere else offer citizenship and even the sniff of a chance of making some money and their way in the world those who would be so inclined would head there also. For all those Cubans who have sold their homes and burnt their bridges at home but did not make it across in time, the future is going to be looking very bleak indeed.

      • Moses Patterson

        This would be a good time for a magnanimous gesture by Raul Castro. Allow and assist these stranded Cubans to return to Cuba without consequence. Then of course, pigs would fly and a snowball would stand a chance in Hell.

    • Steady Eddie

      Imagine if the US applied the same policy to any other Caribbean or Central American nation – Jamaica, Trinidad, Mexico (!) etc. – there would be tens of thousands jumping into boats. Don’t think it tells us anything much that lots of Cubans took advantage of it. Hell, if the UK got the same deal I reckon 100s of us Brits would making the crossing too.

      • Moses Patterson

        I don’t disagree with you. But since we are being frank then let’s admit that living in Cuba sucks.