President Barack Obama’s decision to terminate the Cuban refugee policy is motivated by revenge for Cuban-Americans’ support of Donald Trump, say some Cubans.
The immigration policy, dating from 1966 and dubbed “Wet Foot, Dry Foot,” allowed Cubans who reach U.S. soil to stay and become voting citizens.
Jose Enrique Manresa, a 47-year-old Cuban now stranded in Mexico as a result of the change in immigration policy on Thursday, suggested that the outgoing president’s decision is aimed at punishing Cuban-Americans for supporting Trump.
“Obama, because he is leaving, suddenly takes up the idea of repealing a law that has been enforced for many years and has favored many Cubans. I think he got angry with the Cubans — it is a reprisal,” he told BBC, referring to the Cuban-American vote for Trump.
Manresa, who paid $10,000 to leave Cuba for the United States along with his daughter, learned of Obama’s decision eight days before he expected to end his 48-day journey through Guyana, Brazil, Venezuela, Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Guatemala, and Mexico.
Ramón Saúl Sanchez, president of the Democracy Movement in Miami, also suggested that Obama changed the 22-year-old policy to spite the pro-Trump Cuban-American community in the United States. He told a Spanish-language newspaper, Diario Las Americas, that the outgoing president may be resentful because a large number of Cubans voted for Trump.