The President remains deeply concerned for the safety and freedom of the 10,800 Cubans who are seeking asylum in the Peruvian Embassy in Havana.
In the last year and a half, the Cuban regime has released over 3,900 political prisoners, and President Carter has implemented a program which permitted these prisoners and their families to come to the United States. This program will bring a total of more than 10,000 Cubans to the United States.
In dealing with the immediate problem in Havana, the United States fully supports the efforts of the five countries of the Andean Pact to bring about a quick, humanitarian solution. The problem of Cuban refugees is one for all the Americas as well as the world. The President is encouraged by the efforts of several Latin American and European nations to give tangible help to the victims in the crisis. The decision made by Costa Rica to serve as a staging area for the refugees to assure a rapid evacuation is an important one, and we welcome it.
As a contribution to this international effort, under the authority of the Refugee Act of 1980 and after consultations with the Congress, the President has decided to admit from one-quarter to one-third, or up to 3,500, of the Cubans who have sought asylum in the Peruvian Embassy. These people will be admitted according to the requirements of the act.
The United States, moreover, calls on other nations in the region and elsewhere to make their own contributions without delay. This humanitarian crisis requires an immediate international response.
The world also looks to Cuba to assure humanitarian conditions for the refugees pending their evacuation and to cooperate with Peru and international organizations to facilitate the prompt, safe, and peaceful exit of the Cubans from the Embassy.