Photo: Cuba Eases Travel Restrictions
Cubans are informing themselves - amid hope and disbelief - about the aspects of the immigration reform that enters into force on Monday on the Communist-ruled island, where the measure simplifying the procedures to travel abroad is still causing confusion.
At the immigration office in the central Havana neighborhood of Vedado, dozens of people calmly waited in line to begin the procedures and to ask if they required authorization from the government to travel.
One of the earliest arrivals was opposition blogger Yoani Sanchez, who came to that office to begin the procedures for obtaining a new passport, she said via Twitter.
The writer of the blog Generacion Y explained that a clerk at the office assured her that once she has the passport, which is supposed to arrive within 15 working days, she will be able to travel abroad.
“I still don’t believe it,” added Sanchez, who said that after 20 negative responses from the government to her requests to travel abroad over the past five years “the ‘yes’ now seems to be close.”
After decades of travel restrictions, many Cubans still express disbelief at the immigration adjustment undertaken by President Raul Castro.
“This is too simple. There has to be something more to it. I still don’t believe it can be this way,” Armando Beguerie, who has a passport with a visa to travel to Italy, told Efe at the same office after an official assured him that he did not need any additional documents to leave the country.
The immigration offices have placed on their information boards “to avoid problems” a list of the cases that would require specific authorization.
The list includes Cubans who have yet to fulfill their military service obligation.
In addition, it refers the public to the portion of the law discussing special treatment for travel abroad for administrators, health professionals and others with skills deemed “vital.”