A group of migrants from Cuba who had been stuck in a legal limbo aboard a US Coast Guard ship after they were detained at sea are being allowed to return to their homeland, the Cuban government said on Saturday.
The 38 migrants were among nearly 100 detained by the coast guard last month and who would ordinarily have been quickly repatriated under an agreement between the US and Cuba intended to discourage risky sea journeys by people seeking to reach the US.
However, a US official said Cuban authorities had balked at accepting the 38 migrants, arguing that they did not qualify as migrants in transit who should be immediately repatriated because they had legally left their country and obtained tourist visas from the Caribbean nation of Saint Lucia. The migrants were held on board the coast guard cutter Vigilant until the situation could be resolved.
A statement issued on Saturday by the US Cuban Interests Section in Washington said that Cuba said it would allow the migrants to return, even though they do not qualify for repatriation under the terms of the 1995 agreement.
Cuba faulted US immigration policy, which allows migrants from Cuba to quickly become legal residents — and eventually citizens — if they make it to US soil, but turns back those caught at sea.
The policy prompts many to try to reach third countries and find alternate routes to avoid patrols.
The US should end this “preferential policy,” Havana said.
“It is the principal stimulus to illegal migration from Cuba to the US and to the irregular entries of Cubans to US territories through third countries, undermining the commitment made by both countries to promote legal, safe and orderly migration,” the statement said.
LOST AT SEA: Survivors of a sunken Cambodian ship said they floated for two days in open waters, while a UN official said that traffickers might continue undeterred Chinese survivors from a boat that sank near a Cambodian island, killing three people and leaving eight missing, said they embarked on what they believed would be a short-term fishing job and ended up without food and water aboard the vessel, and their belongings were taken away. Cambodian authorities said on Friday they rescued 21 people one day after the boat small wooden fishing vessel sank near Koh Tang, a Cambodian island close to the maritime border with Vietnam. Nine more people were rescued by the Vietnamese and three bodies were recovered by Cambodia, leaving eight people still missing, Preah Sihanouk provincial
SOUTH CHINA SEA: Despite differences on some matters, Marcos has pledged to foster closer ties with China, calling the relationship ‘advantageous’ to both nations The Philippines is interested in renewing talks with China on joint oil and gas exploration in the South China Sea to expand and diversify its sources of energy, Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr said in an interview. The Southeast Asian country seeks a compromise with China, which is claiming parts of the South China Sea that are within Philippine territory, Marcos said, stressing that any agreement must not contravene his nation’s laws. While the Philippines and China could not agree on which nation’s law would apply, “we continue to explore, perhaps there can be other ways that we can do it,” Marcos
Prominent Chinese commentator Hu Xijin (胡錫進) on Sunday said that as China ponders its COVID-19 policies, epidemic experts need to speak out and China ought to conduct comprehensive research and make any studies transparent to the public. Hu’s unusual call on Chinese social media for candor and transparency earned him 34,000 likes on the popular Sina Weibo microblogging platform, as well as frank responses from commentators in a normally tightly policed Internet quick to censor voices deemed a risk to social stability. China’s top leaders warned in May amid the COVID-19 lockdown of Shanghai and widespread restrictions in the Chinese capital, Beijing,
‘DEVOTED GUARDIANS’: A Chinese foreign affairs official said his nation’s diplomats would not ‘sit and do nothing while our country’s interests are being harmed’ China yesterday signaled no letup in its combative approach to foreign policy in a third term for Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) as leader despite criticism from many Western diplomats that the so-called “wolf warrior” stance has been counterproductive. As relations with the West have soured over issues from trade and human rights to the COVID-19 pandemic, Chinese diplomats have often been confrontational on the public stage, including on social media, a stridency that some critics see as intended for a domestic audience that nonetheless hurts its foreign ties. “We Chinese will not capitulate. We will not sit and do nothing while