Mexico sets up express lane for Cuban migrants’ relatives

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Cubans with relatives already in Mexico will be eligible for new expedited applications for Mexican visas, the country’s Foreign Relations Department announced Wednesday.

Special visa appointments will be held starting in April at the Mexican consulate in Havana, the agency said.

Deteriorating economic conditions and political dissent in Cuba have caused an exodus from the island, and many Cubans cross into Mexico seeking to reach the U.S. border.

Of the 40,000 Cubans who entered Mexico in 2020, 5,000 were returned to the island and 20,000 were given some form of residency or humanitarian visa in Mexico. It was not clear what happened to the remainder, though many enter the United States. U.S. authorities have a hard time returning Cubans to the island because of strained relations.

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has had a close relationshio with Cuban leaders, importing everything from Cuban doctors and Cuban-made coronavirus vaccines to crushed stone ballast from Cuba for a train project.

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