Cuba lifts 'exit visa' requirement for its citizens
The Cuban government announced Tuesday that it plans to rescind the requirement that its citizens obtain exit visas in order to travel abroad, generating hope on the island that a longstanding bureaucratic hindrance to their freedom of movement will soon be restored.
The change in immigration policy was announced Tuesday in the official state newspaper
Pravda Granma, with the details printed in the government's legal journal. Beginning Jan. 14, the news report said, Cubans wishing to leave the island temporarily will no longer need to obtain a government-issued "travel permit" -- a document that in the past has been withheld for political or arbitrary reasons.
How the new rules will actually change things for everyday Cubans remains to be seen. Much depends on the way the law is applied and the fine print. Cubans will still need to obtain a passport to travel, and the new rules allow officials to deny anyone a passport for "reasons of public interest."
The government also said it would maintain special travel restrictions for the professional classes because it fears that they could be lured away by high salaries abroad after benefiting from a low-cost socialized education -- an attempt, as the regime puts it, to preserve "the human capital created by the revolution from the theft of talents practiced by the powerful nations."
Posted by: Fred