February 1, 2023
The displacement of 250,000 people to the United States increases the risk of population collapse in Cuba

The displacement of 250,000 people to the United States increases the risk of population collapse in Cuba

About 250,000 people fled Cuba Toward United State This year, according to US government data. The displacement caused by a combination of the impact of the breakdown of rapprochement between Havana and Washington on the government Donald TrumpThe economic blockade and global price hike caused by the pandemic and the war in Ukraine may, according to analysts, lead to a decrease in the population and workforce on the island.

The taxi driver’s wife, Juan Cruz Mendez, is one of these Cubans. In March, Cruz, 41, bought his wife a plane ticket to fly to Panama and used his savings to pay a smuggler $6,000 to take her to the United States, where she sought political asylum. She works in an auto parts store in Houston.

Still in Cuba, where he has tried to leave three times, the taxi driver gives the dimensions of the crisis experienced by Cubans. “I think a large part of the population has lost hope, which is the last thing you can lose,” he said. In one of these attempts, he sailed 50 km across the strait separating Cuba and Florida, but was forced to turn back.

When the sea is calm, Cruz and his neighbors wait for the local unit of the Cuban Coast Guard to finish their shift, before carrying the makeshift craft on their shoulders through town and over rugged rocks before gently lowering them into the water and trying one more time.

Cuban immigrants await legal assistance after being deported from the United States take photo: Daniel Pesrill/Reuters

Even for a nation known for its exodus, the current wave of immigration is the same as the one that preceded it. About 3,000 people left the port of Camarioca in 1965 and 125,000 people left Mariel in 1980. In 1994, street protests displaced about 35,000 people, who washed up on the coast of Florida in rickety boats and boats.

There is no end in sight to the current wave and it threatens the stability of a country with a life expectancy of 78 and an aging population.

“This is the largest quantitative and qualitative brain drain this country has seen since the revolution,” said anthropologist Catherine Hansing of the City University of New York. “They are the best, the brightest and the most energetic.”

The departure of many younger working-age Cubans bodes well for a bleak demographic future for the country. Today, the communist government can hardly afford the meager pensions on which the country’s elderly depend.

“Cuba’s departure from their homeland is nothing short of ‘devastating,'” said Eileen Acosta Gonzalez, research assistant at Florida International University. “Cuba is depopulating.”

Cuban immigrants are expelled from the United States and deported to Mexico
Cuban immigrants are expelled from the United States and deported to Mexico take photo: Jose Luis Gonzalez/Reuters

It continues after the announcement

Escaping the island became easier last year, when Nicaragua stopped requiring visas for Cubans. Thousands of Cubans sold their homes and possessions and flew to Managua. There, they resort to coyotes to travel the 2,700 kilometers separating the country from the US border with Mexico.

Living conditions in Cuba under communist rule have always been precarious, but the pandemic and the sanctions imposed by the Trump administration have been devastating to tourism, Cuba’s main source of income. Over the past three years, Cuba’s financial reserves have dwindled. Imports – mainly food and fuel – fell by half. Food is becoming more expensive and scarce, as is medicine. Even the electricity supply was affected.

Power outages are ongoing and the situation is so serious that the state electricity company bragged this month that the electric service was running without interruption that day for 13 hours and 13 minutes.

The arrival of thousands of Cubans at the borders of South America has become a problem for the government of Joe Biden. However, analysts say Washington faces a problem it helped create.

To woo Cuban-American voters in South Florida, the Trump administration has rescinded President Barack Obama’s rapprochement policy, which included restoring diplomatic relations and increasing travel to the island. This policy was replaced by a “maximum pressure” campaign that tightened sanctions and severely restricted the money Cubans could receive from their families in the United States, an important source of income.

“It’s not hard to understand: if you destroy a country 90 miles from its border with sanctions, people will come to your border looking for economic opportunities,” said Ben Rhodes, who served as deputy national security adviser in the Obama administration. Reference person in talks with Cuba.

While President Biden has begun to backtrack on some of Trump’s policies, he has been slow to act for fear of upsetting Florida’s Cuban community and angering Sen. Robert Menendez, a powerful Cuban-American Democrat who presides over the Senate. William Leo Grande, an American University professor who has written extensively on US-Cuban relations, said the commission.