Havana, Cuba.- The number of Cuban citizens traveling abroad grew by more than 20 percent in the first eight months of this year, a senior official of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs told Prensa Latina.

Between January 1 and August 30, 519,000 nationals made 889,000 trips to other countries, figures that represent comparative increases of 22 and 23 percent over the same period of 2018, reported the Director General of Consular Affairs and Cuban Residents Abroad (DACCRE), Ernesto Soberón.

These figures respond to a growing trend seen in the last five years (from January 14, 2013 to August 30, 2019), during which time 4.6 million trips were made by 1.1 Cubans.

Of that total, 1.6 million trips were to the United States, made by 364,000 citizens, Soberón detailed, noting that the number of destinations where Cubans travel has also diversified.

At present, Soberón said, although the number of nationals traveling abroad is growing, the number of those who leave the country to settle permanently in other latitudes is decreasing proportionately.

On the other hand, there are also increasing requests for resettlement in Cuba, which between 2013 and 2019 reached 57,000, mostly submitted by citizens residing in the United States (36,000).

The statements of the DACCRE director came in the context of the upcoming 4th Regional Meeting of Cubans Residing in Latin America and the Caribbean, held in Mexico City this week.

The meeting will run from October 18 through 20, and will address not only migratory issues, but also respond to the obvious interest of nationals residing outside the country to achieve greater participation in the ongoing economic and social development processes in Cuba, Soberón explained.

In that sense, he stressed that the permanent and irreversible course of analysis and updating of migration policy has contributed to the strengthening of links with Cuban emigrees, and noted that since this process began in 1978, ‘No measure has constituted a setback; it has always been advancing, with greater or lesser speed.’

He added that the biggest challenge today is to find a way to use all the potential Cuba has abroad and its possible contribution to technology, knowledge and financing for the development of projects that are of benefit to both parties.