In 2023 alone, the United States recorded approximately 153,600 irregular entries of Cubans into its territory, as reported by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency on Saturday.
Most of this immense wave of migrants fly from Cuba to Nicaragua and from there continue their journey by land to the southern border of the United States. This is thanks to the fact that the dictatorship of Daniel Ortega has exempted Cubans from the visa requirement since November 2021.
This wave has worsened the crisis on the southern border of the United States
This strong flow of Cubans triggered in 2023 an unusual traffic of subleased flights to Managua, a phenomenon that led Washington to sanction in November the airlines that continued to lease the planes to make the flights, but these sanctions have not reduced the flights, and on the contrary the arrivals in Managua have expanded, from India and Central Asian countries to African countries.
The issue of illegals entering through the southern border of the United States is the number one concern of U.S. voters in this election year, and Ortega has successfully contributed to the chaos at the border.
A total of half a million Cubans have entered the United States in two years
These irregular entries of Cubans into the United States in 2023 were in addition to those of 67,000 islanders who flew directly to U.S. airports under the program known as Humanitarian Parole, which the Joe Biden administration implemented in 2023 to facilitate the “orderly, legal and safe” migration of citizens from Cuba, as well as Haiti, Venezuela and Nicaragua.
Last year’s global figures, released Saturday, show that the mass migration of Cubans that began in early 2022 did not stop in 2023. The United States recorded the irregular entry of 313,000 Cubans in 2022, plus the 153,600 who entered in 2023. In addition, there are 67,000 people of Cuban origin who entered through the humanitarian parole program.
A historic figure
The migratory wave of the past two years is unprecedented since the arrival of the revolutionary government led by Fidel Castro (1926-2016) in 1959.
Only the Mariel emigration in the 1980s, where 130,000 Cubans departed, precedes this massive emigration, followed by the “balseros” with 35,000 in 1994. At the beginning of the revolution, between 1960 and 1963, around 300,000 fled for political reasons.
The departure of Cubans is occurring amid the profound economic crisis facing the island, the worst in three decades.
Many fly to Nicaragua, which exempted them from the visa requirement since November 2021, to then embark on a risky overland journey to the U.S. border.