Hundreds of Cubans arrive in the US illegally every year, many through third countries, or by making the perilous journey from the island to Florida via the Florida Straits. The Caribbean island nation has been under a US economic blockade since 1962, APA reports citing Sputnik.
The refusal by the US Embassy in Havana to issue immigration visas to Cubans incentivises illegal and potentially dangerous forms of migration from Cuba to the US, the Cuban Foreign Ministry has announced.
“Among the factors that constitute incentives for irregular migration are the suspension of the processing and granting of immigrant and non-immigrant visas at the United States Consulate in Havana,” the ministry said in a statement Friday, pointing out that Washington has failed to comply with its commitments to grant a minimum of 20,000 migrant visas per year.
The ministry promised that Havana would continue working to stop irregular, unsafe and disorderly migration.
The statement comes in the wake of increasing illegal migration attempts, including a recently publicised incident involving a US-bound vessel originating from Cuba capsizing near the Bahamas earlier this month with over a dozen people onboard. 12 of the would-be migrants were rescued by a Royal Bahamas Defence Force ship, with person perishing and several others going missing – including women and two children. Some of the boat’s passengers were reportedly left floating in the water for over 14 hours before being rescued.