In an exclusive interview with Prensa Latina at the Foreign Ministry’s headquarters in this capital to address current issues, Fernandez de Cossio rejected the recent political asylum granted to a Cuban citizen who “simply decided that his way to emigrate was to hijack a plane” last October.
With this action, he said, the Government of the United States becomes an accomplice to and a participant in an act of hijacking.
It is something extremely serious that Cuba denounced and for which it energetically protested, because it violates the agreements established between the two countries, as well as Cuban law, international law and civil aeronautics regulations, the deputy foreign minister noted.
He recalled that history shows that the United States, far from responding “to their national priorities in immigration matters, what weighs heavily on it are the priorities of political subversion against Cuba.”
Fernandez de Cossio said that the fundamental causes for “this pronounced emigration of Cubans to the United States, including those who, above all, leave irregularly, is due to known reasons.”
In this regard, he denounced the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed for more than six decades on Cuba, a policy “aimed at depressing the standards of living of the Cuban population” and eroding the ability of its economy to function.
Some 300,000 Cubans have left the country in the last year, according to Fernandez de Cossio. The vast majority of those people “do not have political conflicts with our country.” He added that “surely when they have the first opportunity they will return to Cuba.”
He pointed out that a relationship will continue with those emigrants. “They are still children of this country, there is no conflict with them; however, the United States offers them political asylum or gives them a privileged treatment for political purposes that are very divorced from the real reasons for which they emigrate.
Therefore, as long as the United States maintains a policy of economic war against Cuba, it is very difficult to think that the migratory potential will decrease, noted the Cuban diplomat, who insisted that the United States is also encouraging emigration due to the Cuban Adjustment Law, a unique privilege for Cubans that will soon be 60 years old.
Fernandez de Cossio pointed out that there is also a differentiated policy for Cubans that favors those who arrive at its borders, including those who do so by sea and that becomes an attraction for those who do not get visas.
Regarding bilateral relations, the deputy foreign minister commented that there is no real change because, for example, Title III of the Helms Burton Act, the inclusion of Cuba in the State Sponsors of Terrorism list and that of restricted entities are maintained, as well as the persecution of fuel and medical cooperation from Cuba.
All of these are policies bear the stamp of Donald Trump (2017-2021), since it was he who implemented them, but the current Government of the United States continues to apply them without even trying to justify why it is doing so, the vice minister assured.
He commented that the United States intends to ask Cuba for gestures and that it has to take a step, “an absolutely unreasonable demand or claim.”
Why does Cuba, which has not taken any hostile action against the United States, have to take a step to correct the current state of relations, and many times this claim leads to specific requests such as that Cuba should release prisoners, he added.
“All these are excuses that the United States has historically used when it does not want to act. It make unreasonable claims, claims that they know have no support, when it has no will to act in order to improve relations with a country in this case Cuba,” he stated.
For this reason, he considered that the current state of relations between Cuba and the United States is defined by the continuity of the policy of maximum pressure established by Trump.
However, he explained that this does not mean that “we are unaware that in 2022 both countries took some steps that are of some importance in bilateral relations, but they are far from characterizing those ties.”
As for the possibility of the current Democratic administration ruling immediately on removing Cuba from the list of State Sponsors of Terrorism, Fernandez de Cossio was emphatic, “We have no evidence, no signal, no promise that that’s going to happen.”
However, the reasons for removing Cuba from that list are evident because “the United States knows that Cuba does not sponsor terrorism, the Government and its agencies, the State Department, Homeland Security, the president and even small groups of congress people who quite often dishonestly claims that Cuba practices terrorism.”
It is hard to think that a figure of as much power as the president of the United States is handcuffed by the capricious opinions of a senator and that there may be a senator who tells him what he can or cannot do regarding his prerogatives as chief executive of that nation so powerful globally.