US and Cuba Relations Essay

Of all the people in Latin America, none have been more familiar to the United States as Cubans-who, in turn, have come to know their northern neighbors equally well. (Franklin) A big unregulated exoduses of refuge seekers to the United States started in 1994 after the fall of the Soviet Union, eventually slowed to a few thousand a year in the late 90s, however, but has again increased in 2004-06 although at a far slower rate than earlier.

There are a lot of reasons for Cubans to try to immigrate, the state of the economy of the country is one of the biggest reasons. The collapse of SU meant the end of Soviet subsidies for Cuba’s state-run economy, as well as sheltered markets for Cuban exports and substantial aid from Moscow. The removal of Soviet subsidies sent economy of Cuban into a rapid depression defined by historians as a “Special Period”. Also in 1992, the United States proclaimed the trade embargo that also led to a drop in Cuban living standards, which were approaching to the crisis point within a year.

However, to say that Cubans try to immigrate to the US for economic reasons is to confuse the real facts. (Gibb) In order to shed light on the truth, one should ask a simple question: What exactly is forbidden to Cubans in their home country? Cubans are forbidden to associate in political, economic or social groups not related to the government; they are prohibited to express themselves publicly or to criticize in any way the political system and the Communist Party; they are not allowed to show any signs of worshiping god as well as they don’t have a right to travel around or chose a place of their choice where to live.

Cubans have no possibility to choose the type of schooling they want for their children or simply choose a school; they are not given the opportunity to listen or watch the broadcasts from abroad; they are not allowed to be freely engaged in selling, buying, producing or transporting goods of any kind, they also are banned to work as managers if they are not declared trustworthy and upright by the regime, and they are not allowed to attend a university or college if they ever dare to express any dissatisfaction with the existing regime.

Cuban citizens don’t have rights over their property, the country made people equal without giving them the opportunity to actually have something. (Moses) Cubans don not have access to private telephone or Internet; they do not expect their correspondence’s privacy to be respected; and at last they cannot read or have any publication that maybe be considered to be “enemy” misinformation. (Gravis)

All these terrible prohibitions that violate almost every human right existing on earth are not the full list of things an average Cuban is not allowed to do on every day basis. The regime does not become less strict even after years pass, and it probably won’t while Castro is in power. (Moses) So should it still be a question for people why Cubans leave their homelands? Should anybody still wonderful about it or maybe take actions and help the people?

The main reason why Cubans are coming to the United States is to search for a better life. They are leaving in spite of dangerous conditions at sea and the likelihood of interception by the US Coast Guards, which almost always means a return to Cuba. They are trying to escape to the USA, risking to die on the way there from a storm or starvation. Cubans don’t expect or particularly demand any aid from the USA, they don’t demand any special rights…. they just want freedom. (Potter)

The case that terrified me the most was the incident that happened on October 2005: a six year-old boy drowned in the Florida Straits when his parents, together with twenty other Cubans, tried to escape the island by paying smugglers in order to search for freedom and a better life in the US. To my mind, this case is a sign to Cuban government that something in the governmental policies should be changed. There is nothing more valid in the life than a life of a child…and if a child is dying seeking for freedom that should be an abrupt sign that a change is needed.

I can also relate personally to this problem because my boyfriend, a very dear person to me, is also a Cuban rafter, he left Cuba 6 years ago to escape from the government and misery in his country. Struggling with elements he spent almost 5 days out in the sea, with limited food to eat, he went through fire and water, through thick and thin before stepping to US land but it was worth that. He did not know English when he came to Miami, his family was left in Cuba and he worked his way up, just remembering that his family is waiting for him back home, believing that he will help them all have a better life some day.

It does not take much time to understand why now years after the break down of the Soviet Union Cubans are willing to leave their homeland, the reasons are clear. However, there is still a change possible, there is still hope that Cuban government will change its policies and then Cubans will start their prosperous life in their own country and will have no desire to leave it.

Work Cited

Gravis, Evan, Cubans in America, http://immigrationproject.tripod.com/cubans.html
Rivero, Raul, Daily Life in Cuba, Le Monde, Paris, France, on January 2, 1999
Gibb, Tom, What is Life Really Like in Cuba, BBC News, Thursday, 27 April, 2000
Potter, Mark, Smuggling of Cuban citizens on the rise,CNN.com/US, July 23, 2001 Posted: 5:13 PM EDT (2113 GMT)
Book Sources
Moses, Catherine, Real Life in Castro's Cuba, SR Books, January 28, 2002.
Franklin, Jane, Cuba and the United States: A Chronological History, Ocean Press; Reprint edition, October 1996.
Perez, Lois, Cuba: Between Reform and Revolution, University of Georgia Press; 3rd edition, February 2003.

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