OFFICIAL VOICE OF THE COMMUNIST PARTY OF CUBA CENTRAL COMMITTEE

On July 9, 2014, a new round of migration talks was held between delegations from the United States and Cuba, led respectively by Edward Alex Lee, deputy assistant secretary of the Bureau for Western Hemisphere Affairs of the U.S. State Department, and Josefina Vidal Ferreiro, director-general of the U.S. Division of the Ministry of Foreign Relations. The meeting took place in a respectful environment. An analysis was made of the evolution of current migration accords, in addition to results of actions carried out by the parties, both individually and jointly, to combat illegal migration, trafficking in persons and the falsification of migration documents, which included the holding of technical meetings and work sessions attended by authorities responsible for these activities in both countries. Cuba offered updated information about the implementation of the country’s new migration procedures, which have been in effect since January, 2013. The Cuban delegation expressed its satisfaction with the agreement reached by the two governments, early in July, to implement Technical Operational Procedures for Search and Rescue Operations, which will allow authorities from both countries to cooperate in efforts to save the lives of persons who might be in distress. Once again, the Cuban delegation insisted that trafficking in persons and illegal migration will not be eradicated, nor will there be legal, safe and orderly travel between the two countries, as long as the U.S. "wet foot, dry foot" policy and the Cuban Adjustment Act remain in force, since these encourage irregular arrivals to U.S. territory through third countries, by Cuban citizens who legally depart from Cuba. The Cuban delegation particularly emphasized that these practices are incompatible with measures adopted by Cuba to regularize migration and facilitate travel procedures for Cuban citizens, and are likewise incompatible with the interests expressed by both governments to improve the effectiveness of operations to prevent and combat illegal migration and trafficking. The Cuban delegation emphasized its grave concern about the serious impact on consular services, offered by the Cuban Interests Section in Washington to Cuban, U.S. and foreign citizens residing in the United States, as a result of the interruption of banking services, due to blockade regulations and Cuba’s unfounded inclusion on the list of "State sponsors of international terrorism." The Cuban delegation reiterated its willingness to continue these talks in the future, given their importance to both countries.