News and Facts about Cuba

Will Cuba’s Absurd Travel and Immigration Restrictions End?

Yoani Sanchez – Award-winning Cuban

Will Cuba's Absurd and Immigration Restrictions End?

Posted: 10/16/2012 12:21 pm

I have accumulated 20 negatives in just five years to my requests to

travel. Twenty times I have tried to leave my country and just received

a "no" as a response from the Cuban authorities. Although it is hard to

accustom oneself to such an absurdity, the truth is that I have learned

to live on my island . I have consoled myself by saying that all

the raw material of my writing was on this Island, in its reality and

that it would also be very hard for me to be separated from my family

for even a few weeks.

But these were phrases of relief that I repeated to myself from

frustration and anger at my inability to travel, so as not to suffer

emotional hurt. It was a way of maintaining mental hygiene amid a

feeling of seclusion.

This week a new travel and migration law has been approved that will be

effective on January 13, 2013. As reflected in its multiple clauses,

from that date Cubans will not need permission to travel outside our

country, nor will we need a letter of invitation from a stranger or

relative who emigrated. Long-awaited news that has been greeted with joy

by millions of Cubans within and outside the Island.

In any event, although still lacking a test of the reality of the limits

and scope of the new provisions, there are some suggestions that the

government will maintain a filter for professionals and critics of the


For now, I'm packing my suitcase. I have started to tell myself that it

is possible, that they will let me go, that I will board the plane in

January. But maybe it's just one more optimistic phrase that I repeat to

myself. In a few months I will have my proof.

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