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Cuban migrants outside the Costa Rican immigration building at the border with Nicaragua, Penas Blancas, Costa Rica, Nov. 16, 2015 (AP photo by Esteban Felix).

Obama’s Cuba Policy Triggers Unintended Migrant Crisis

Thursday, Dec. 17, 2015

In an ironic example of the Law of Unintended Consequences, President Barack Obama’s effort to normalize relations with Cuba has triggered a new humanitarian crisis, a serious diplomatic standoff in the Americas, and a renewed sense of panic among many Cubans that, if not addressed effectively, could lead to even greater problems.

As soon as Obama and his Cuban counterpart, President Raul Castro, simultaneously announced an agreement to start thawing diplomatic ties back in December 2014, officials in the South American nation of Ecuador noticed something rather curious happening: a sharp upswing in the number of Cubans turning up at their immigration counters. Ecuador had abolished all requirements for tourist visas back in 2008. Since then, Cubans seeking to reach the U.S. had started transiting through Ecuador on their way north. Suddenly, just after the move to normalize Cuban-American ties, the trickle of Cuban migrants turned into a steady stream. Before long, it would become a rushing torrent. ...

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