Cuban Adjustment Act or Upheaval Act / 14ymedio, Rolando Gallardo
14ymedio, Rolando Gallardo, Quito, 14 December 2016 — I wake up and I
see a report on the arrival of a group rafters on the coast of Miami.
I’m surprised by the open declaration of one of them, who confesses
having left Cuba in search of a better future, but says he has nothing
against Fidel Castro. His words set me to meditating.
The Cuban Adjustment Act is a good deed on the way to hell. Thousands of
Cubans arrive in the United States every year to take advantage of its
benefits. Its repeal is a taboo subject among the exile and the
emigration. Those who say they are in favor of its elimination or reform
from abroad, receive avalanches of criticism and support, demonstrating
the division of opinions about it.
The government of the island ascribes to the Cuban Adjustment Act the
main reason for the exodus, dismissing internal conditions and policies
that cause people to leave, this being a long-time strategy of the
regime: Someone else is always to blame.
Authorized voices within the Cuban-American political establishment,
such as Senator Marco Rubio, call for a revision of the Cuban Adjustment
Act on the basis that not all Cubans arriving in the United States and
claiming refuge under it meet the conditions to apply for asylum, and
many of them demonstrate their political apathy by returning to the
island as soon as they obtain a US residence permit, discrediting their
supposed condition as a politically persecuted person.
Since the beginning of the most recent migration crisis in November of
2015, the division among Cubans stranded in Costa Rica and Panama is
One group reaffirms, recklessly and motivated by an ignorance of the
nature of the Adjustment Act, that they are economic migrants, which
strengthens the arguments of the regime about the causes of illegal
Others, however, say that they left Cuba because of its repressive
policies, lack of political and economic freedoms, and the
impoverishment of the country, something imposed by an internal blockade
that has plunged the Cuban people into despair.
Both sides agree that this mass escape was motivated by the fear of
political transformations that would be generated by the “thaw,” leaving
them inside a nation that sees no long-term changes in the relationship
between the government and the people.
It is legitimate to question whether the Cuban Adjustment Act should
continue under the current terms. The receiving government spends an
annual average of 500 million dollars in aid to the “Cuban
refugees.” Some estimates indicate that, from 2014 to late 2016, the
United States has allocated 1.5 billion dollars for monetary aid for the
first six months, food stamps for three months which are renewable for
longer, health insurance for ten months for adults and more health
insurance assistance for children, as well as supplementary services for
Does every Cuban deserve such kindness? The final saga of the migratory
crisis, which has had its most recent and dire chapter in Ecuador,
demonstrated that some members of the regime are parasites benefitting
from the Cuban Adjustment Act. They waste no time in leaving behind the
claws of the tiger, and brazenly appear among the voices clamoring for
an airlift to continue their journey to the United States, while in Cuba
they were persecutors of the Ladies in White, Cuban counterintelligence
officials, members of the National Assembly of People’s Power, and
militant communist/opportunists who, tired of the perks of the regime,
head north to take advantage of other perks in “la Yuma” – the United
States. Many of them, who denied there was a political motive to this
breakout, are now in the United States enjoying government help.
Another group, misunderstood and attacked, launched itself in courageous
though reckless protest against the Cuban embassy in Quito, showing the
political nature of the exodus and starring in one of the never before
seen historic feats of the emigration. Unfortunately, it is an event
little spoken of. Many of the protesters were deported to Cuba. Another
group of people and protagonists of the protest camp in Quito’s Arbolito
Park are already in the United States, justifying with their actions and
political stance that they deserve the benefits of the Cuban Adjustment Act.
I support reform of the terms of the Cuban Adjustment Act. It is not
fair that the American taxpayers’ money goes into the hands of those who
enjoyed communism and now want to enjoy capitalism without deserving to.
It is not fair that economic emigrants and future speculators head back
to the island with their recently obtained residence permits, trampling
on the spirit that gave rise to the law. Those who are unscrupulous and
reject with their behavior – far from that of the politically persecuted
– the refuge offered to them, should have their status reassessed.
I do not live in the United States and I have not benefited from the
Cuban Adjustment Act, nor do I consider myself politically persecuted,
despite my actions and opinions, but I condemn those who mock the law
and discredit the support and sustenance that the United States
government has offered to our people in the hard years of the exodus,
which sadly does not end.
Source: Cuban Adjustment Act or Upheaval Act / 14ymedio, Rolando
Gallardo – Translating Cuba –