Cuba's new travel policy removes nearly all restrictions
By The Miami Herald
Published: Saturday, Jan. 12, 2013, 7:24 p.m.
A look into the future: Summer vacations by Cuban families in Miami, Cuban doctors and athletes who left their posts or teams while on official trips abroad returning to Cuba for visits and everyday Cubans permitted to leave the island for up to two years at a time.
They are all possible, starting Monday, when Cuba's broad new migration and travel policy takes effect.
Cuba, long criticized for keeping families apart and punishing those who try to leave the island illegally, has removed nearly all restrictions on travel by its citizens, a move that could cause ripples well beyond the island of 11 million people.
Gone is the reviled “tarjeta blanca,” the white card or exit visa that Cuba used to control who could leave the island. Gone is the notarized letter of invitation from a foreign host.
Now Cubans simply need a valid passport to travel — as long as they can get a visa from the country they intend to visit and a ticket for travel. Cuban authorities say they have set up 195 locations around the country where citizens may apply for passports. Those who already hold passports will be required to recertify them under the reform.
But getting an entry visa allowing travel to another country and paying for a ticket are two big ifs.
“I was in Havana when the new policy was announced in October and people were very happy,” said Domingo Amuchastegui, a former Cuban intelligence analyst who lives in Miami. “But people thought it was going to be easy to get a visa and travel. Just getting the money for a ticket will be a monumental problem for many people.”
Presumably many Cubans will seek visas to travel to the United States — and now even minor children will be allowed to travel as long as they have the authorization of parents or legal guardians.
But it's unlikely the State Department's U.S. Interests Section in Havana will be handing out significantly more non-migrant visas than it does now. That could spur Cubans, intent on reaching the United States, to seek indirect routes through nearby countries or those that don't require entry visas for Cubans.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Western-backed Libyan PM removed
- Europe prepares to punish Moscow
- Malaysian military says missing jet changed course
- Swedish journalist slain in Kabul
- Guilty verdicts for 3 CIA agents upheld in Italy
- Syrian civil war affects kids the most, U.N. says
- Teen’s death sparks protests across Turkey
- Vanished jet’s wild turn adds to mystery
- ‘Chavistas’ mark year since leader’s death
- Teen’s death revives Turkish street demonstrations
- Pistorius’ former friend tells of fits of anger