U.S. migratory policies have cost the lives of many Cubans. Photo: BBC

The historic confrontation between Cuba and the United States, that began long before the Triumph of the Revolution, has marked the natural movement of persons between the two neighboring countries that are separated by a mere 90 miles of water.

Nevertheless, beginning January 1, 1959, the United States' migratory policy toward Cuba has been used as a weapon against the revolutionary process.

From encouraging the departure of minors with false propaganda about supposed changes in parental rights, to the toleration of hijackings of Cuban boats and airplanes to reach U.S. territory, the list of such aggressions is long and involves a succession of U.S. administration, who bear the responsibility for the deaths of hundreds of innocent persons.

Throughout this process, those mainly affected have been the Cuban and U.S. peoples, united by longstanding historical and cultural ties, as well as the families divided on one side or the other of the Florida Straits.

This month marks the first anniversary of the last migratory agreement signed by the two countries, giving continuity to those signed after the Mariel crisis in the 1980s and that of "rafters" in the last decade of the century.

One of the most significant steps taken was to eliminate the so-called wet foot-dry foot policy.

The declaration released by the Revolutionary government on January 12, 2017, stated that this particular policy was "a stimulus to irregular migration, trafficking in emigrants, and irregular entries into the United States from third countries by Cuban citizens who traveled abroad legally, and were admitted to U.S. territory automatically, affording them singular, preferential treatment not available to citizens from other countries, which also encourages illegal emigration."

The statement continued, noting, "Its implementation and that of other policies provoked migratory crises, hijackings of airplanes and boats, and the commission of crimes like trafficking in emigrants, in persons, migratory fraud, and the use of violence, with a growing extraterritorial destabilizing impact on other countries in the region, used as a transit routes to reach U.S. territory."

Trends in migratory movement since the latest measure became effective, with illegal departures in rustic boats falling to practically zero, show the validity of the position taken by Cuba that U.S. policies were promoting disorderly, unsafe migration.

Advances have been made - including the end of the Parole Program for Cuban Medical Professionals, which encouraged Cuban personnel on missions in other countries to abandon their commitments - but the Cuban Adjustment Act of 1966 remains in full force.

It is impossible to consider the normalization of migratory relations between the two countries without the U.S. Congress putting an end to this legislation. The historic leader of the Revolution, Fidel Castro, was perhaps the person who best described the Adjustment Act for the Cuban people.

"We would not propose an Adjustment Act for other countries because it is a murderous law, but, yes, we would propose development of the Third World, since you don't want your excess population to flock to rich societies, at the cost of a much bloodshed by emigrants who attempt to get in by any means. We would propose justice for the world, and a little light for the blind politicians who today govern the most developed and rich nations on earth," he said, November 27, 2001, during a speech at the José Martí Anti-imperialist Tribune.

The anniversary of the latest agreement arrives in a context that is very different from that in the final days of the Obama Presidency.

The Trump administration, using a pretext that is unfounded and has no relation to reality, has reduced personnel at its embassy in Havana, practically paralyzing the issuing of visas, and expelled 17 diplomats from the Cuban embassy in Washington.

Josefina Vidal, director general for the United States at Cuba's Foreign Ministry, stated in a recent press conference, that the impact on both embassies "is affecting exchanges between Cuba and the United States of all kinds, be they cultural, sports-related, or scientific, but also family interaction and relations."

Vidal stated that ongoing, systematic communication has been maintained, both in Havana and Washington, in search of a solution.

"This dialogue has always been maintained, and has served to both transmit Cuba's concerns and our dissatisfaction, discontent, and rejection on the part of Cuba of a series of accusations and insinuations that are unfounded," she added.

Since mid-year of 2016, the State Department has continued to talk about "sonic attacks" on U.S. diplomats in Havana, but after months of investigation, not a single piece of evidence supporting this accusation exists.

In the end, Vidal noted, the measures adopted have led to totally unjustified, hasty decisions, that have affected not only the bilateral relationship as a whole, but also people.

"The solutions," she said, "lie on the U.S. side."