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OVER 177,000 Cubans have arrived by land in the U.S. and more than 5,000 by sea since October 2021 in a new migratory wave from the island to the North, which already exceeds that of the “Mariel Exodus” (1980) and is widening “the generational gap” on the island, experts say.
News of the arrivals of Cuban migrants and their journeys in the difficult crossings through Central America and Mexico or through the Straits of Florida, alternate daily with those dedicated to blackouts and the island’s difficult economic situation, to the concern of the many families who have some of their own there.
Luis Manuel Rolle arrived in the United States in 1994 as a rafter. He was 16 years old. Today he is a retired U.S. Army captain and a specialist in military strategy and geopolitics.
This Saturday he will speak at the conference “Cuban migrations under totalitarianism and its consequences,” organized by the Institute of Cuban Historical Memory and the group of former political prisoners Plantados with the participation of representatives of different generations of Cubans who came to South Florida since 1959, the year the communist revolution triumphed.
“I will explain from a sociological point of view the generational gap left inside Cuba by these migratory waves,” he tells EFE News.
Data from the agency in charge of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) make it clear that the current Cuban exodus is out of the ordinary.
With less than a month to go before the end of the fiscal year (the new one begins on October 1), 177,848 Cubans have arrived by land. In fiscal year 2021 there were 39,303 and in the pandemic 2020 there were 14,015.
According to Rolle, “it is the largest migratory wave, including Mariel, Camarioca, Freedom Flights’ and (Operation) Peter Pan”.
In his opinion, “what is happening now is that Cuba has made an agreement with Nicaragua to alleviate this pressure cooker” that arose after the social outburst of July 2021.
“Throwing 177,000 people into the water could have led the United States to an aggressive response. Now we are seeing that Cubans are able to get out to Nicaragua and from there they start this very dangerous journey to the U.S.,” he comments.
“The Cuban government right now is in favor of a mass exodus and is launching its citizens on a perilous journey through jungles and third countries with human trafficking,” added the also author of the YouTube channel “Epicentro Global”.
For journalist and former political prisoner Pedro Corzo, “we are now facing a gigantic migratory wave, the largest of all and one of the bloodiest because of the insecurity that many Cubans are facing,” he told Efe.
“We have read what is happening in the Darien jungle (natural border between Colombia and Panama) where so many people are dying, women are being raped and murdered,” says Corzo, organizer of the conference.
Corzo adds that “there is one aspect that we cannot ignore, and that is that over the years these migratory waves are accompanied by thousands of individual departures by different routes and through third countries”.
“Some have been exiled, deported, separated from the country of their birth, a despicable political figure. We are going to highlight all of that, we don’t want it to be forgotten,” he says.
Irvin Morales, a clinical psychologist who was exiled from Cuba in 1991, tells Efe that “in recent times the migratory patterns of the Cuban have reached levels never seen before.”
“The desperation that this indicates is increasingly pronounced and that Cuban who finds that he is skilled in mind and body to establish this crossing, takes it,” adds Morales.
Last week, the U.S. Joint Homeland Security Task Force-Southeast (HSTF-SE) reported in a statement that it has increased its “operational posture” “to address a recent increase in irregular maritime migration originating from the Bahamas and Cuba through the Florida Straits.”
“The agencies that make up HSTF-SE are increasing patrols and law enforcement by land, air and sea, day and night,” the federal agency said.
According to official data, since Oct. 1, 2021, U.S. Coast Guard crews have intercepted 5,392 Cubans at sea, compared to 838 intercepted during the previous fiscal year.
Most of those intercepted at sea are repatriated, unlike those arriving by land that the Cuban regime does not accept back, according to Rolle “in violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”