readies for 'mass exodus' from Cuba after
Washington, Oct 5 (DPA) The US government
is prepared for a possible mass exodus of
Cubans after the death of elderly leader
Fidel Castro, US-Cuba transition coordinator
Caleb McCarry said.
'We have contingency plans for a possible
massive exodus,' McCarry said in Washington.
'We have the obligation to secure our borders.'
McCarry is one of the most controversial
political figures in US-Cuban relations.
The communist island interpreted the creation
of his bureau by US President George W.
Bush as a clear statement of purpose to
annex Cuba in the near future.
The US official admitted that 'something
changed' in Cuba since Fidel Castro, 81,
temporarily gave up power to his brother
Raul on July 31, 2006.
'For the first time in decades there is
uncertainty,' McCarry noted.
For example, he mentioned the 'significant'
decrease in attempts to reach Florida since
shortly after the power transfer. Based
on explanations given by Cubans who were
intercepted by the US Coast Guard, McCarry
interpreted that 'people stayed because
they wanted to see what would happen.'
He encouraged Raul Castro to liberalize
'Freeing political prisoners would be a
very important step towards political reconciliation,'
The US, through an agreement with Cuba,
has an annual quota of 20,000 visas for
Cubans, but has consistently issued more
than the quota, giving a total of 273,598
since the programme started in 1994, said