Among measures being taken by countries of the region to contain irregular migration of Cuban citizens, the Ecuadoran government has decided to establish a tourist or visitor visa requirement as of December 1, for citizens from the Republic of Cuba who wish to enter the country.
Ecuador’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Relations, Xavier Lazo, speaking during a press conference which took place November 26 at the country’s Foreign Ministry, outlined the following group of considerations:
The new visa requirements are an exceptional measure taken to protect Cuban citizens, safeguard their rights, and ensure that they do not fall into the hands of criminal gangs.
· The objective is to stem the flow of Cuban migrants amassed between Costa Rican and Nicaraguan border.
· Ecuador reiterates that it is not closing its doors to Cubans or Cuba; Cuba has neither doors nor walls in Ecuador.
· The Minister emphasized that the problem stems from the Cuban Adjustment Act, the “wet-foot-dry-foot policy” and Parole Program for Cuban Medical Professionals.
· He noted that Ecuador is not the problem, but rather U.S. policy.
· Lazo stated that Ecuador is also looking at the possibility of organizing a meeting between the U.S. and countries of the region to address the problem, to see if the U.S. has a response to the situation.
· He praised the attitude of the government of Costa Rica and regretted that the situation has caused problems between Costa Ricans and Nicaraguans.
· He noted that during the recent regional meeting in El Salvador, Ecuador called on countries to issue humanitarian visas, and receive the Cubans amassed in Costa Rica, in order to prevent them from falling into the hands of criminal gangs.