The Cuban exile community gathered at Versailles restaurant in Miami to ask the Biden administration not to make concessions to Cuban officials at the meeting planned for this Thursday in Washington, D.C. In a statement on Wednesday, U.S Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said migration is the main topic on the table.
After almost four years of interrupted conversations between the two countries, the Biden administration will speak for the first time with the Cuban regime. The meeting comes at a time when the number of Cuban migrants entering the U.S through the southern border with Mexico has significantly increased.
This decision has upset the Cuban-American community in South Florida.
“For a long time, we have been alerting that the Cuban regime is encouraging a massive exodus. They are utilizing the desire of the Cuban people to live in freedom,” said Ramon Saul Sanchez, president of the Democracy Movement. “They are going to the homes of the young people to force them to leave the country for participating in demonstrations, and if they don’t leave, they imprison them just like they have done with others.”
The number of Cubans who have fled the island seeking freedom increased considerably after the massive protests on July 11 last year. As of today, more than 1,800 Cubans have tried to enter the U.S. by boat and approximately 80,000 have tried to cross by land, according to recent statistics published by United States officials.
“I think that the problems are very evident,” said Kiele Cabrera, a Cuban-American activist and member of People4Cuba movement. “It’s the mass oppression being done by the Castro-Canel dictatorship for 63 years.”
Conversations began a day after U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken participated in a migration conference in Panama.