Latin American leaders blame the migration crisis on the sanctions against Cuba and Venezuela

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The Mexican president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO)met this Sunday in Palenque to their Venezuelan counterparts, Nicolas Madurofrom Colombia, Gustavo Petrofrom Cuba, Miguel Diaz-Canelfrom Haiti, Paul Henryand from Honduras, Xiomara Castroto try to offer a joint response to the migration crisis that crosses the region, with more than three million undocumented immigrants registered at the US border during the 2023 fiscal period, which closed on September 30. The meeting was attended by representatives of up to 11 Latin American and Caribbean countries, but excluded the US and Canadathe main recipients of that flow, in an attempt to find a solution at the source of the problem.

“We cannot wait for substantive initiatives to be taken by the United States Government. We have to act, and we can do it, we can help each other,” López Obrador explained shortly after participating, along with his counterparts, in a visit guided by the Mayan ruins of Palenque. After the tour, the leaders held a two and a half hour work meeting in which a document of ‘regional commitments’ was signed. Among other points, the ‘Palenque Agreement’ includes the promotion of interregional trade, the elimination of tariffs, the fight against transnational organized crime and human trafficking, strengthening the protection of women and children on the route, expanding regular migration routes and the creation of a Latin American medicines agency.

The signatories have also aligned themselves with Nicolás Maduro and Miguel Díaz Canel demanding that the US end the economic sanctions against Cuba and Venezuela since, in his opinion, “they are contrary to international law and have serious repercussions beyond the target countries.” Likewise, they have called on the government of Joe Biden to sit down with the Castro authorities to “hold a comprehensive dialogue on their bilateral relations in the shortest possible time.” In statements to the media, the Cuban Foreign Minister, Bruno Rodriguezhas denounced that the economic blockade “is expressly aimed at depressing income, generating poverty, hunger, and trying to generate political change, and naturally that causes a stimulus to immigration.”

For his part, the Venezuelan president has thanked his Latin American counterparts for the support received to end “more than 930 illegal sanctions, misnamed sanctions, coercive, extortionist, torturous and unilateral measures” and has committed that, if they are lifted, “permanently, totally and completely, without extortion, without blackmail (…) in less than a year all the causes are being reversed and this situation is being reversed.” More than 334,000 undocumented Venezuelans arrived in the United States during fiscal year 2023, according to figures from the Office of Customs and Border Protection, being the largest nationality of all. Between August and September alone, more than 60,000 were registered, a figure that doubles that documented in June and July.

Coinciding with the meeting that Latin American leaders were holding in Palenque, a group of around 200 migrants They participated this Sunday in a symbolic summit in the Bicentenario park in the Mexican city of Tapachula, next to the border with Guatemala, where they explained the reasons that led them to leave their countries, described the actions of their leaders and burned piñatas with the faces of Nicolás Maduro, Miguel Díaz-Canel and Daniel Ortega. A Venezuelan migrant who was traveling with his wife and four children lamented that “we are human beings, but Maduro does not see that, that does not matter to him, he only cares about greed and money, I am looking for a better future for my children, a security that I cannot find in my country.

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