The giant exodus we are witnessing from Cuba is unprecedented, bigger than the last two largest migration waves – the 1980 Mariel boatlift and 1994 rafter crisis – combined. More than 200,000 Cubans have fled to the United States over the last year and a half, mostly across the Mexican border, but also through the Florida Keys in rickety boats.
These people are desperate. The pandemic has hurt Cuba’s tourism industry, a major source of income, but another key factor is U.S. policy. We’ve been tightening our economic restrictions on the island. Our official policy is to choke off Cuba’s revenues and keep it impoverished. It’s immoral, out of proportion to how we treat other countries, and the bottom line is, it’s counterproductive.