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Cuban Migration: analysis and commentary

Apr 17 , 2023

On March 3, the renowned Cuban economist Arturo Mesa discussed in an analysis published by La Joven Cuba about the non-economic causes underlying thecurrent Cuban migration y the unleashed crisis. This is due to a long-standing trend among the official media and the country’s leaders to restrict the causes behind the mass exodus of Cubans to economic reasons only.

Below Opapeleo presents a summary of the main points made by the specialist which may help you better understand the views of a significant group of Cubans living abroad concerning their country, the causes of the current migratory crisis, including what makes Cuba different from other low-income countries across the continent.

The differences between Cuban migration and other Latin American countries

Many people compare Cuba with the rest of the poor countries of Central and South America, whose natural migratory flow is to the north of the continent. However, the conditions in most of these countries are very different from those in Cuba. In our country there is free access to health and education services, Cubans live with a certain level of safety and other guarantees otherwise unthinkable for other countries in the region.

On the other hand, many Cubans sell their homes, cars or businesses in order to pay for the expenses involved in the necessary procedures in each case. Of course, this means that Cubans who migrate start from better conditions than many other Latin Americans who migrate, including the fact that they own property. Many Cubans also receive remittances from abroad, wages, etc., providing a significant support for their living in Cuba or for their migratory expenses.

It is hard to differentiate between so-called economic emigration and political emigration, since, in addition to the wealth a country may have, politicians are in charge of establishing the economic policies to generate greater or lesser wealth in a given territory.

Political reasons for Cuban migration

Although it is difficult for a Cuban to suffer extreme starvation or a lack of attention from medical services, the lack of positive opportunities for Cubans in their country is considerable, due to the fact that the government has not come up with effective policies for a significant improvement in the current living conditions of Cubans. In the midst of the crisis, the political discourse of the Cuban government does not show an economic or social strategy that announces improvements in the short term.

This lack of prosperity in their country, together with the political oppression and exclusion experienced by dissidents, made them leave the country – in most cases to the United States-and more than that, their radicalization (in many cases) with respect to their own country. Arturo Mesa describes this situation explaining that the lack of a reconciliatory plan of the Cuban State towards these sectors has turned many of them into detractors of the process of Cuba-US bilateral relations normalization.

Improving relations with emigrants would be a successful approach for the country, since these Cubans would serve as channels for fraternity, business and even the normalization of relations between the two countries. However, partisan or communicational absolutism has focused on an aggressive discourse towards certain media and sectors that are unpleasant for it, where Cuban emigration plays major role.

Official Speeches on Cuban Migration

On the other hand, the official Cuban media narrative provides a perspective on its northern neighbor that does nothing to help the opinion originating on that side of the sea strait. These articles are overabundant in the dysfunctionalities of the northern country but it is very difficult for them to make a serious and thorough assessment of the internal problems that we find in Cuba, which, while many are economic, they remain unsolved because the government is not making any political decisions to transform the current Cuban conditions that drive so many Cubans away from their own land.

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